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#1560563 - 06/03/11 07:24 PM Power of Attorney & beneficiary
Rosebud123 Offline
Platinum Poster
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 645
I am the POA for a family member who is physically handicap and cannot sign documents. Can I appoint myself as the beneficiary as well? I have read some threads were it says that POA's cannot add beneficiaries, but I believe that is after the death of the account holder.

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#1560568 - 06/03/11 07:24 PM Re: Power of Attorney & beneficiary Rosebud123
BrendaC Offline
Power Poster
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,029
Sweet Home AL
An attorney in fact cannot change any rights at death, including adding a beneficiary to an account unless that right is specifically authorized in the POA.

Extreme care should be used prior to appointing oneself as beneficiary. That could be grounds for allegations of self dealing and mishandling by other family members and interested parties. I would discourage the practice even if permitted in the POA. I would let the individual's will or state intestacy laws govern distribution of funds after death.
Life without Jesus is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point.

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#1560852 - 06/06/11 02:59 PM Re: Power of Attorney & beneficiary Rosebud123
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
10K Club
Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
An attorney-in-fact has no legal status after the principal's death; it's not just that he cannot add or change beneficiaries, he cannot do anything.

Brenda has recapped a reasonable, but general interpretation of the issues involved that I believe would reflect the legal standard in most states. In short, a fiduciary cannot do anything that would benefit himself or herself. Naming yourself as a POD beneficiary would certainly cross that line.

However, Florida, with its millions of elderly people, has the most detailed durable POA statute I know of. It addresses the issue directly:

FSA 709.08(7)(b)Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, an attorney in fact may not:


4.Execute or revoke any will or codicil for the principal;
5.Create, amend, modify, or revoke any document or other disposition effective at the principalís death or transfer assets to an existing trust created by the principal unless expressly authorized by the power of attorney

If the POA actually says you can do it, you can. If it is silent on the issue then you simply cannot.
In this world you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.

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