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Splitting power of attorney in estate planning

Texas readers know that estate planning is not a cookie cutter process, just as every family is different. It is often the case in estate planning to have one sibling that might be better suited to money management than another. Instead of granting each child the exact authority, it is possible to split accordingly by using a separate power of attorney for each.

For example, a situation where this would be applicable would be specifically designating which child would make medical decisions and which child would handle retirement funds. Often, one sibling is better suited for one task more than the other. The intent of estate planning in Texas is to ensure that the client's exact and specific directions are followed. If there is concern about dividing the estate between children or dividing certain responsibilities between siblings, it is important that it be done correctly.

Communication is critical in estate planning. It is recommended that everyone that will be directly affected be informed of their expectations and rights. By assigning limited powers of authority to each person, it gives the client more specific power over their estate.

While giving limited powers of authority may not be a regular practice in estate planning, it is certainly possible when it is done correctly. It may even be prudent to have different attorneys oversee each individual power of attorney. It is also critical to communicate clearly with the attorneys which powers of attorney should be designated to whom, and what type, such as general durable power of attorney or limited power of attorney.

Communication with the attorneys and the children will make estate planning easier. Clarity and a carefully drafted estate plan can make end of life issues easier. This will also decrease the need and likelihood of future litigation between feuding family members.

Source: The Times of Northwest Indiana, "ESTATE PLANNING: Splitting up the authority," Christopher W. Yugo, April 20, 2013

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