On March 5, 2015

Wrapping up our blog series Powers of Attorney FAQs, below are some more answers about this essential aspect of estate planning.

Additional Answers about Powers of Attorney

Q: Can I change powers of attorney in the future?

When you are ready to take action and put some powers of attorney in place, contact a trusted Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates.

When you are ready to take action and put some powers of attorney in place, contact a trusted Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates.

A: Yes, as long as you have the capacity to do so. In other words, if you are NOT incapacitated and you change your mind about any aspects of your powers of attorney, you can revise or revoke these powers.

When it comes to altering powers of attorney in the future, however, we want to note that certain life changes – like an annulment, separation or divorce – can impact your powers of attorney if your former spouse was named as your agent. So, if your powers of attorney identify your spouse as your agent and then your marriage ends, by Colorado law, that individual will no longer be your agent. If you named a Successor Agent in your powers of attorney, then:

  • That person would step into the role of agent for you.
  • Your powers of attorney would remain in effect even though your former spouse is no longer a party to them.

Q: Can multiple people share powers of attorney for me?

A: Yes. In fact, when appointing agents for your powers of attorney, you can name:

  • Multiple people to have distinct powers of attorney, such as choosing one person to have a medical power of attorney and another to have a financial power of attorney
  • Multiple people to share a single power of attorney, however this is generally not advisable because it increases the likelihood of disagreements, disputes and – when such disputes can’t be reasonably resolved by the agents – court intervention.

Nevertheless, we also want to point out that, if you truly do want multiple people to share a single power of attorney, there are various options you can include in this power of attorney, such as:

  • Dividing up the responsibilities between the parties
  • Including dispute resolution directives in the event the agents end up disagreeing on actions to take on your behalf in the future.

Q: What are my options if my powers of attorney are abused?

A: An agent who accepts the responsibility of having a power of attorney for you becomes, in the eyes of the law, a fiduciary, which means that the agent has some specific legal obligations (s)he must abide by. In the event that you believe an agent has breached his or her responsibilities pertaining to the powers of attorney (i.e., a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred):

  • You may be able to sue this party for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • You may be entitled for damages, including any losses this breach has caused you and possibly even attorneys’ fees.
  • It’s strongly advised that you consult with an attorney to find out more about your best options for proceeding.

Denver Estate Planning Attorneys at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

Are you ready to put some powers of attorney in place? If so, you can turn to a trusted estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

To find out more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with us today. You can set up this meeting by calling (303) 741-2400 or emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning, Powers of Attorney, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries