Houston Estate Planning and Probate Blog

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Power of Attorney from the Agent’s Perspective

In our last post we discussed the importance of choosing the right person as your agent or executor and some of the things to consider as you make your choice.  In today’s post we’ll look at the agent/executor situation from a different perspective—that of the person serving in the role.

What happens if you’re named as agent or executor and don’t have what you need to do the job well? In this recent post on the New Old Age Blog, a reader asks the question of what to do if you are named co-agent of a power of attorney and the other agent isn’t doing his share.  This is just one example of some of the difficulties that can crop up when you’re serving in a fiduciary capacity.

The first thing to remember is that just because you’re nominated doesn’t mean you have to take the job. Serving as power of attorney can be a weighty job, and if you don’t have the time or energy to put into the role it might be better all around for it to pass to an alternate nominee.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to do it alone.  This is not to say that you should have a co-agent (although as evidenced by the article above some people do choose to name co-agents rather than just one person), but it does mean that you can ask for help.  If you aren’t sure what to do don’t be afraid to ask your attorney (or the testator’s attorney) for help.

Finally, if you know ahead of time that a friend or relative is naming you for a fiduciary role, take the time to talk to that person about their values and wishes.  Ask the questions you anticipate might crop up later.  Having the conversation when you still can will help immensely when the time comes to make decisions on that person’s behalf.

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