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Power of Attorney Following Divorce

Power of Attorney Authorizes Control of Finances

A power of attorney authorizes a third party to act on behalf of the principal.  A typical power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to access the principal’s individual bank accounts, credit cards, and may even authorize the attorney-in-fact to make real estate transactions on behalf of the principal.  It is common for spouses to name each other as attorney-in-fact because they trust their spouses to care for them and in a good marriage, both spouses share financial responsibility and typically financial accounts and real estate too.

Only a Trusted Person should be Attorney-in-Fact

When a marriage turns rocky though, a disgruntled spouse who has attorney-in-fact power can be dangerous. A spouse could make withdrawals from the other spouse’s individual accounts and could make real estate transactions without the other spouse’s knowledge.  Once a spouse discovers the money is gone, there may be no available funds to repay the victimized spouse.

In order to revoke a power of attorney, the principal must either (i) find all original power of attorney documents and destroy them, or (ii) sign and cause to be acknowledged a written instrument of revocation; or (iii) deliver to the attorney-in-fact a written revocation; or (iv) executed a new power-of-attorney that SPECIFICALLY revokes the prior power-of-attorney.

Getting Legal Help

Understanding your rights and those of your spouse and your children are important factors in creating your estate planning documents. Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you get started on making smart choices to preserve and grow your estate.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.

Posted in: Estate Planning, New York Estate Planning