Kajabians: Durable Financial Power of Attorney What You Need to Know
Before you dive into this week's practicalities - if you haven't yet listened to the other episodes, take the time to start at the beginning because all of this makes way more sense!
Kajabians: Durable Financial Power of Attorney and How It Works
A durable financial power of attorney is an essential and simple way to make sure that someone else can handle your finances in the event that you can't.
Right now while you are reading this and can make decisions for yourself is when you need to take action to put your own durable financial power of attorney in place.
This is HUGE for your family because if you don't do so now, then in the event that you become incapacitated your family will have to ask the courts for authority to handle the bank accounts, payroll, PayPal, Stripe, etc. And given that the reason for the incapacitation is likely highly emotional - you don't want to add a legally unfamiliar experience to the situation.
When does a durable financial power of attorney take effect?
A durable financial power of attorney can be written to turn "on" as soon as you sign it.
Many spouses have this version in case something happens while one spouse is out of town - say attending Kajabi's Impact Summit.
When you have a durable power of attorney - it remains effective if you become incapacitated. You can also specify that the power of attorney does not go into effect unless a doctor certifies that you have become incapacitated. This is called a "springing" durable power of attorney. It allows you to keep control over your affairs unless and until you become incapacitated when it "springs" into effect. This feature does come with its own pros and cons so make sure you understand how springing powers work and if they are right for you.
Who should you choose to your agent?
When you are creating your durable financial power of attorney, you are choosing someone (someone's - cause I always recommend naming three people so you have a back-up to the back-up) who has the legal authority to act on your behalf if you can't.
This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact in some states and they can step into your financial shoes.
It is up to you how you choose your agent(s) and the power(s) that you give them. You can even split the duties but if you do that make sure that there is a clear line between them that doesn't lend itself to a legal battle.
Here are some of the powers that you can designate for your durable financial power of attorney:
- Use your assets to pay your everyday expenses and those of your family.
- Buy, sell, maintain, pay taxes on, and mortgage real estate and other property.
- Collect Social Security, Medicare, or other government benefits.
- Invest your money in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
- Handle transactions with banks and other financial institutions.
- Buy and sell insurance policies and annuities for you.
- File and pay your taxes.
- Operate and manage your business on Kajabi.
- Claim property you inherit or are otherwise entitled to.
- Transfer property to a trust you've already created.
- Hire someone to represent you in court.
- Manage your retirement accounts.
- Manage your social media accounts.
Now before you freak out thinking about trusting anyone to do all this for you - keep in mind that your agent is legally bound to always act in your best interests, maintain accurate records, keep your property separate from theirs, and avoid conflicts of interest. This person is someone you trust to step into your shoes and you definitely want to treat that with the respect that the position entails.
How do you create a durable financial power of attorney?
Can you fill in the blanks on a simple form?
Yes, then you can create a durable financial power of attorney.
Now keep in mind that even as simple as filling in the blanks - you are creating a legally binding document so always understand what exactly you are creating.
There are times that banks and brokerage companies have their own durable power of attorney forms. So it's a good idea to check with the institutions that you want someone else to have access to and see if they have their own form. If they do, complete their form and also the durable financial power of attorney form - this will just help alleviate red tape and any delays that could pop up.
Each state is different in their requirements but in most, you need to sign this document in front of a notary public - which makes sense because it's a pretty powerful document. Some states will also require witnesses and if you are dealing with real estate you might need to put a copy on file with the local land records office.
There are many ways to create these forms. I have used eForms before and they are reasonable and thorough.
When does your durable financial power of attorney end?
When you die.
If you want your agent to handle things such as paying your debts, making funeral or burial arrangements, or transferring your property to the people who will inherit it, then you need to name them as your executor.
But your durable financial power of attorney also ends if:
- You revoke it. As long as you are mentally competent, you can revoke a durable power of attorney at any time. Most often you'll need to do this in front of a notary - which again makes sense given the power of the document.
- You get a divorce. In a handful of states, if your spouse is your agent and you divorce, your ex-spouse's authority is automatically terminated. In other states, if you want to end your ex-spouse's authority, you have to revoke your existing power of attorney. In any case, it's wise to make a new document as soon as you file for divorce.
- A court invalidates your document. It's rare, but a court may declare your document invalid if it concludes that you were not mentally competent when you signed it, or that you were the victim of fraud or undue influence.
- No agent is available. To avoid this problem, you can name an alternate agent in your document. I always recommend having a back-up to the back-up - so three named agents and many online services offer this as a given. You just answer the questions and name the agents in the order you want them to act.
PBK is here to help you navigate all the complexities that exist with its BLKOUT program. Taking care of business, legal, and Kajabi when the lights go out.
- What's BLKOUT?