I am appointed agent. What does it mean?

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Q. A person has appointed someone to be their financial agent in case they need to in the future via an enduring power of attorney. What does the officer do once they need help or act on behalf of the person due to cognitive decline and inadequate communication skills? What should the agent do to help or represent the person who needs help or representation in their financial affairs?

– Prepare

A. We are glad you asked the question.

It is important to be ready to act in this very important role.

A power of attorney is a written instrument by which one person — the grantor — authorizes one or more other persons to perform the acts specified in the power of attorney for the benefit of the grantor, said Catherine Romania, estate planning attorney at Witman Stadtmauer. in Florham Park.

The appointee is known as the agent or attorney in fact.

Acting as an agent under a durable power of attorney is an important responsibility, Romania said.

“As an agent, you exercise your powers on behalf of the principal by presenting the power of attorney to the financial institution or other third party,” she said. “In most cases, a financial institution will insist on a review by their legal department before you are allowed to act and that will take time; therefore, whenever possible, it is recommended that the principal obtain the power of attorney’s approval from the financial institution before it is required.

When acting as an agent, it is important to sign documents and/or make declarations only as an agent of the principal and not as an individual, Romania said.

For example, you would sign a document with your name followed by “lawyer in fact for [name of principal].”

Records must be kept for all transactions, as you may have to account at a later date for any money used, Romania said.

Your authority as an agent under a power of attorney ends when the grantor dies, she said.

Send your questions to [email protected].

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboos column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Register for NJMoneyHelp.comit is weekly e-newsletter.

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