In addition to managing your own family’s finances, you may find yourself in the position of taking over for your aging parents, in-laws or other elderly relatives. This can be overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of assets to manage and several accounts to reconcile. Here are 5 tips to help you stay organized as a financial POA:
1. Make a list of all financial institutions, a point-of-contact at each one, account info and password access. Having a master list helps keep track of monthly statements to avoid any oversights and ensures a smooth tax filing season and annual accounting.
2. Do not commingle your personal funds or accounts with any of the accounts where you serve as POA. Being a POA imposes a fiduciary duty. Any income received on behalf of your relative must be deposited into his or her account and all expenses should be paid out of the account with a detailed paper trail.
3. You may find it easier to keep track of income and expenses using a personal finance software. Be diligent in typing in notes and descriptions for expenses. The most popular software programs are Quicken and Mint. Both of these allow you to easily print customizable reports.
4. Automate as much as possible. Set up automatic bill pay with service providers and direct deposit from income providers.
5. Seek professional help when needed. You may find yourself facing issues that are outside your area of expertise or skill level. Seek the professional assistance of tax professionals, CPAs or estate planning attorneys to ensure you are getting the best information and making solid decisions as a financial agent under a POA. It is better to ask questions and get a professional involved then to try to go about it alone and risk opening yourself to any unnecessary liability.
For assistance in serving as a financial power of attorney or to develop a comprehensive estate plan for yourself or a loved one, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.