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Estate Planning – Answers about Powers of Attorney Series – #4

by Bob Frie

Every power of attorney designates individuals that the principal wishes to make decisions on their behalf under certain circumstances. Some people have difficulty in choosing who to appoint. These questions and answers may help with such decisions.

What if a principal appoints multiple agents?

“Multiple agents can be appointed to serve simultaneously but it is not recommended. Having multiple agents can create events in which the agents do not agree with one another causing the court to have to resolve the dispute. If multiple agents are appointed they can be required to act independently or in unison. It is generally better to just choose one agent or give a tiebreaking mechanism in the document.” “In either case, multiple Agents should communicate regularly to assure that their actions or consistent. A Co-Agent could be liable for acts or omissions of his/her Co-Agent so it is imperative that both Co-Agents be fully informed.”Multi generation family sitting on a bench taking photo of themselves

What is a successor agent?

“A successor agent is the person named to serve as your agent if your first choice for agent cannot serve due to death, incapacity, resignation or refuseal to accept the office of agent. If a named individual is unable or unwilling to serve as agent, the next person in line under the document becomes agent.

No one can take over as an agent under a power of attorney unless the principal names a successor agent (or agents) in the document, or if the principal authorizes the agent to appoint a successor agent. If neither is possible, and the principal has become incapacitated, it may be necessary to petition the court for appointment of a guardian and/or conservator. Therefore, it is always best to name at least one successor agent in your power of attorney.”

Thanks to the Colorado Bar Association for their concise information.

Stay tuned to our blog for more explanations and answers to common questions on powers of attorney.

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