If your elderly parent or relative has appointed you as their attorney-in-fact to help them manage their finances or you act as their guardian or conservator, you have both legal and ethical obligations in your role as a fiduciary.
Basically, as a fiduciary you are legally bound to:
Act in the person’s best interest. You cannot use their money for yourself or others and you need to avoid any conflict of interest.
Manage their assets carefully. It is important to pay their bills on time and consider investment decisions carefully. Get help if you need it.
Keep their money and property separate from yours. Be sure you do not comingle their and your assets – have totally separate accounts.
Maintain good records. You are responsible for accounting for all transactions.
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help protect consumers through consumer financial law enforcement. The Bureau recently joined forces with the American Bar Association to develop four Managing Someone Else’s Money guides to help those who are acting as financial agents under (1) power of attorney, (2) court-appointed guardianship or conservatorship, (3) revocable living trusts and (4) government benefits fiduciaries.
These guides help everyday people understand their responsibilities as a fiduciary under the law, and they provide education on financial scams and exploitation with tips on where to go for additional help from local, state and federal resources.
If you would like more information about the responsibilities of a fiduciary or support talking with your parents about these issues, call our office at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net