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Estate Planning Series: Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney, sometimes referred to as a Durable Power of Attorney, is another critical piece of a well-structured estate plan. The Financial Power of Attorney allows the client, often referred to as the “principal,” to select an agent, known as the principal’s “attorney-in-fact,” who will be able to step in on behalf of the principal in matters pertaining to property, financials and similar, when the principal is unable to do so, either for lack of availability or incapacity, or simply for convenience at the request of the principal.

A Financial Power of Attorney is an important document that affords significant powers to the named agent, such as the ability to enter into contracts on behalf of the principal, to access the principal’s financial accounts, and to carry out fiscal transactions for the principal. Therefore, it is important that the principal choose an agent that can be trusted to act in her best interest.

A Financial Power of Attorney may be effective immediately at the date that the document is signed or may become effective based on the incapacity of the principal. Providing that a document is effective based on incapacity, sometimes referred to as a “springing” power, allows for flexibility for a client who may be uncomfortable affording that level of authority to another. For others, such as immediate family members or married couples, executing an immediately effective Financial Power of Attorney offers the assurance that an agent will be able to take swift action when required to do so.

According to California law, specific powers such as the ability to make gifts, revoke or modify a trust, or to transact business pertaining to the assets of a 529 plan, may require express authority in the Financial Power of Attorney document.

To discuss your needs for a Financial Power of Attorney and other estate planning needs, please contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt. 

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.


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