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Catching up on readers' questions:

Q: If a person is appointed power of attorney, can they borrow money and sign a mortgage?

A: Just to clarify, a person is not appointed power of attorney. A POA is a document that appoints someone to act on behalf of someone else. The person who creates a POA is the principal and the person who is authorized to act on someone else’s behalf is referred to as the attorney-in-fact, or sometimes the agent.

If your question is “can an AIF borrow money and sign a mortgage on behalf of the principal using the POA?” my response is probably. Although each POA can be slightly different, most general durable POAs contain language regarding borrowing money and banking transactions.

If the POA contains such language chances are pretty good that the AIF has the authority to borrow money on behalf of the principal. The bank will want to review the POA to verify that the AIF has the authority to borrow the funds and may even want it recorded with the mortgage but the AIF should be able to borrow money on behalf of the principal.

Remember that the AIF is a fiduciary and must act in the best interests of the principal. Avoid any self dealings or even appearance of self dealing.

Q: My brother passed away and his wife is the executor. How do I find out if I am included in the will? Can I get a copy of it?

A: Maybe. If the will was probated and your sister-in-law has been appointed personal representative, you should be able to view the will by going to the county clerk’s office and reviewing the file. Probate matters are public and a copy of the will should be in the court’s file.

Another option would be simply calling the attorney who is representing the estate. The attorney should be able to tell you if you are included. If you are included, you should be able to request a copy of the will or at least the portion that involves you. If for some reason the attorney won’t tell you or won’t provide you with a copy of the will, you can still review the court’s file at the clerk’s office.

Finally, remember that if you are included in a will that has been probated, you should receive notice from the estate. If you haven’t received notice about the estate, I think that is a pretty good indication that you are not included in the will.

Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.