When I was young, it would drive my parents crazy when I would seek, then follow, the advice of my friends. More often than not, listening to my friends made my situation worse. Although I believe that my friends had my best interests in mind, their good intentions did not make up for their lack of knowledge and experience. In those cases, if I’d only gone to my parents for advice, I could have avoided many pitfalls creating the roller coaster ride of my teenage years. Similarly, when it comes to estate planning matters, many clients seek advice from the wrong sources.
Recently, I spoke with a client who was advised by a bank to amend her durable power of attorney (“POA”). The bank suggested the client amend the POA to allow the client’s agent to act in the same fiduciary capacity as the client. Doing so, according to the bank, would allow the agent to manage the client’s accounts. Sounds like good advice, right? One major problem—all of the client’s accounts were titled to the client’s trust. An agent has authority to manage non-trust assets, while a trustee has the authority to manage trust assets. Not only did the bank’s advice create a conflict with the provisions of the client’s trust, it also opened the door for management of the client’s accounts by someone lacking the legal authority to do so. Although the bank was likely just trying to be helpful to the client, its advice, if heeded, opened the door to serious consequences.
Not all advice is good advice. Do your research before making any decision that could have lasting negative consequences. If you have questions about your estate, the attorneys at Morris Hall have the knowledge and experience to assist you.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.