Q: I have crafted my accounts, etc., to be transferred to my children, equally, upon my death. In the event I am incapacitated before I die, is a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Advance Directives enough to give my children access to my accounts without having to create separate accounts with their signing authority already on them, and authority to manage my care? (McMurray, PA)
A: Yes, a legal General Durable Power of Attorney should empower an agent to do the things that the principal wants the agent to do. However, it is better if these things, which are called, “powers”, are listed as specifically as possible in the document so that the agent’s authority to exercise such powers are not questioned. My suggestion is to consult with an attorney in drafting a POA so that it will be customized to accomplish what you want it to. As mentioned, a POA is a very powerful document and if misused, can lead to problems with taxes and Medicaid, to mention a few. As to an Advanced Directive, that is a medical document that comes into effect at the end-stage of life. It should have nothing to do with your finances.