Millions of Americans manage money or property for a loved one who’s unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. To help financial caregivers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the CFPB, worked closely with the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging to prepare four (4) guides:

  1. Help for agents under a power of attorney.
  2. Help for court-appointed guardians of property and conservators.
  3. Help for trustees under a revocable living trust.
  4. Help for representative payees and VA fiduciaries.

The guides will help readers understand the role of financial caregiver, also called a fiduciary. Each guide explains readers’ responsibilities as a fiduciary, how to spot financial exploitation, and avoid scams. Each guide also includes a “Where to go for help” section with a list of relevant resources.

The First Guide: Help for Agents Under a Power of Attorney

This guide is for those who have been named in a power of attorney to make decisions about money and property for someone else.

Like many people, you may never have been an agent under a power of attorney before. This guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as an agent under a power of attorney. In that role, you are a fiduciary. A fiduciary is anyone named to manage money or property for someone else, who is called the “principal.”

The role of a fiduciary carries with it legal responsibilities. When you act as a fiduciary, you have four basic duties that you must keep in mind:

  1. Act only in the principal’s best interest.
  2. Manage the principal’s money and property carefully.
  3. Keep the principal’s money and property separate from your own.
  4. Keep good records.

In the first guide describing duties as agent under a power of attorney, you’ll find brief tips to help you avoid problems and resources for finding more information.

The other guides will be provided in upcoming blog posts.

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