Power of Attorney FAQs
Power of Attorney (POA) documents are used to appoint someone to take care of your financial affairs when you cannot. The appointed person can legally manage your financial obligations if you become incapacitated. You can decide how much control you want to give them and what you consider to be "incapacitated." You can also appoint a POA if you are healthy, but don't want to, or have the time to, manage your own finances.
A person appointed with Limited Power of Attorney can act on your behalf for a specific transaction or for a limited amount of time.
A General POA appoints someone to have general authority to manage nearly any aspect of your finances including writing checks and taking distributions from your investments.
Springing POAs "spring" into action when certain circumstances are met, such as you become incapacitated.
An executor is a person or professional executor who is appointed to carry out the terms of your Will. Tasks include organizing assets and paying your debts. Once debts and financial obligations are met, they distribute your remaining assets. Depending on the size of your estate, this can be a challenging task. To help ease the burden of families and to minimize family disputes, many often hire a professional executor. Professional executors cost about three to five percent of the estate.
Choosing an executor can be challenging. An immediate family member may not always be the right choice. Plus, you should never feel pressured by anyone to make a specific selection. Since family matter can become emotionally charged, many opt to hire a professional executor (accountant, trust company). Additionally, you will need to appoint a secondary executor in case the first cannot fulfil their duties due to death or illness. Before appointing executors, notify them of their duties and ensure that they are willing to take on the task. Don't forget to update the document periodically if needed.
If you have not added a Digital Assets Addendum to your Will your accounts will be active long after your death. Most online social media accounts do have procedures for your family to follow after you pass to close or memorize your profiles. But they may not even know which accounts you have or think to shut them down. So, it is best if you appoint someone to manage your digital assets.
You'll want to choose someone you can trust with your personal information while you are alive and after you pass. In the Digital Assets Addendum include:
Other digital assets to think about include information stored on your mobile phone, external hard drives and computer hard drives. You can include in the addendum to your Will how you want these digital assets to be managed. You may choose to have them archived or erased completely.