Power of attorney – What Must Agent Disclose?

Power of attorney – What Must Agent Disclose?

Is an agent required to provide proof of Power of Attorney to other siblings, to prove what power has been granted?


There may not be any reason that an agent under a power of attorney has to legally inform siblings of the terms of the legal document. However, if the goals include maintaining family harmony, avoiding legal challenges, etc. it may be advisable to keep siblings fully informed unless there is a specific reason not to do so. Also, the provisions in some powers of attorney may make it important, advisable, or even mandated to disclose information to siblings. For example, if you wish to make gifts under the powers authorized, the provisions permitting gifts may make it mandatory that gifts be equal by child family line. In such a situation it may be essential to notify siblings. Don't forget, you are operating in a fiduciary capacity to carry out the wishes of the grantor who gave you the power, not to benefit yourself. You might be best off by taking steps to assure that all those involved or affected know your motives and actions are genuine


Finally, serving as an agent is not a simple task. Have a meeting with an estate planning attorney in your area (laws vary by state) and review the document to understand your role and what you should do. The attorney can also give you advice as to particular aspects of the unique situation you're facing (and every situation has its own nuances). Don't be penny wise,..... get professional advice.

See the checklist article in the August 2006 issue of Practical Planner available on the www.shenkmanlaw.com website. Click the newsletter tab on the top, then the bar to see all prior newsletters. This article provides a practical checklist of many of the steps you should take when serving as an agent.

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