A power of attorney is a legal relationship where one person has the right to act on the behalf of another person in legal or financial matters. It does not take away your right to act on your own behalf. Many people a give power of attorney to their certified public accountant (CPA) to act on their behalf in financial matters. This gives the CPA the right to make financial transactions, request private financial information and sign your name to certain types of paperwork.
Choose a CPA to be your power of attorney holder. This should be someone who you trust to handle your financial affairs in the way you would want them to be handled. Do your research on your CPA. Contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if he has any complaints about his business ethics. You should also do a complete background check to see if he has a criminal record. Those with business complaints or criminal records should not be considered trustworthy enough to hold your power of attorney.
Have the power of attorney paperwork drawn up, reflecting that the power of attorney holder has the right to act on your behalf on financial matters only. You can even have the power of attorney paperwork state a specified time for the power of attorney to last. Sign the power of attorney paperwork and have it notarized. Your power of attorney holder should have an original set of the power of attorney paperwork and you should keep a copy.
Notify all third parties that may have interest in your power of attorney on file with your CPA. This will include financial institutions, legal advisers and family members. Provide each third party with a copy of the power of attorney paperwork for record keeping.
Tips & Warnings
- If at any time you want to revoke or revise a power of attorney, you can do so by notifying the power of attorney holder and signing revocation power of attorney paperwork.
- While you can download a few forms off the Internet, fill them out and have them notarized, you might consider having a lawyer draw up your power of attorney papers because a power of attorney for a CPA should contain clauses limiting the powers to certain transactions. A lawyer can advise you how best to protect your interests.
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