The Elrod Firm


Why Do I Need Power of Attorney?

Justin, my spouse and I own everything jointly. Why would we need Financial Power of Attorney documents? – Crystal

Even if you and your spouse own all assets and property jointly, power of attorney documents are still needed. There are three important reasons why even married couples need to appoint someone as an agent on a power of attorney, even when all assets and property owned jointly.

First, an IRA is an Individual Retirement Account. Your spouse is not a joint owner of your IRA and your spouse does not have any authority to manage that account. If your spouse ever needed to withdraw funds from your IRA and you were unable to sign, your spouse would have to seek a court-ordered guardianship to obtain the authority act.

Second, in order to transfer or sell real property in Arkansas, all owners must sign the deed. If you and your spouse own your home together, both of your signatures would be required to transfer or sell your home. If one of you is incapacitated and didn’t previously sign power of attorney documents, then a guardianship is the only way for your spouse to have the authority to sign for you.

Third, events may occur where both you and your spouse are unable to handle your affairs. It is important to name a successor agent in your power of attorney for this reason. We recommend having an agent and at least one successor agent. Then, if something happens to the person you appointed as your agent, the successor agent can step in and handle your affairs for you without new documents being needed.

Our goal is to help our clients avoid going to court if at all possible and to prepare for the most simple and efficient management of financial affairs in all circumstances, and financial power of attorney documents are a vital tool in meeting those goals.


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