ESTATE PLANNING: Splitting up the authority

2013-04-20T14:54:00Z ESTATE PLANNING: Splitting up the authorityChristopher W. Yugo Times Business Columnist
April 20, 2013 2:54 pm  • 

Q: Can I use a power of attorney to appoint different children to do different things? Does my daughter, who is on my checking account, also have authority over my IRA or can I name another child to take care of that? What about medical decisions?

A: If I understand your question correctly, it sounds like you are asking if you can assign different authority to different children. The answer is yes, but you will likely want to create several limited powers of attorney.

It's a little unusual, but not entirely unheard of to separate authority to multiple attorneys in fact. Sometimes, it might even make sense.

You used the example of your daughter and the checking account. What if you had a son who worked with investments but he lived in Colorado and a daughter who lived and worked locally. It would make a lot of sense to have the son assist you with your investments. However, it might make more sense to have the daughter help with the banking since she is local.

In a situation like this, you could execute a limited power or attorney granting your son the authority to help with your IRA and investment account. You could then grant a limited power of attorney to authorize you daughter to deal with the local bank and your bank accounts.

Limited powers of attorney can be pretty flexible when drafted carefully and they are good way of assigning different authority to different people. Now don't get me wrong, your situation is a little unusual. But that doesn't mean that you can't accomplish your goal. Unusual doesn't mean bad; it just means unusual

Separating the health care powers is a little more common and often makes a lot sense. For example, the daughter is local and is the obvious choice to help out with the banking. However, you may want all of your children involved in medical decisions, especially those relating to end of live issues.

In a situation like this, you execute a general durable power of attorney appointing the daughter the attorney in fact and execute a health care representative appointment appointing all of the children so all of them can have a say in medical decisions.

If you considering using multiple powers of attorney, I would suggest you be sure the parties get along. If your loved ones can't agree what is in your best interest, things could get messy.

Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Yugo’s 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.

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