Do You Need to Update Your Financial Power of Attorney After a West Virginia Divorce?

Hello everyone. It’s Chris, Pritt back again with a new topic in West Virginia divorce. Today we’re going to be talking about powers of attorney and whether you need to be changing those up after divorce.

A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to act on your behalf. Generally speaking, it is up to the various institution that you’re dealing with whether they are going to acknowledge it. For example, sometimes a bank has its forms that they require you to use before you do anything and sometimes there are no requirements. They’ll just take a generally applied power of attorney that an attorney’s office or somebody has drafted to allow you to act on behalf of another person or for them to act on behalf of you.

A question I get sometimes is what happens after the divorce? Do I have to worry about any kind of powers of attorney that are out there? The answer to that is yes, you do. It’s important that once you have gone through the divorce process if you think that’s an issue, you need to go ahead and change your powers of attorney. The reason for that is that let’s say you’ve got a spouse that’s named on it, and they’re allowed to go and act on your behalf.

One key feature of a power of attorney though, is that with it comes what we call fiduciary responsibilities. What that means is the person cannot have a power of attorney and just act and do whatever they want. The purpose of that is to act in the best interest of the person for which they have the power of attorney. You can’t just take a power of attorney that you have for somebody and use that as a reason to just totally drain their bank account. In other words, you are in a position of trust when you have that. However, it does not stop a lot of damage from being done. If a power of attorney has been granted and they rip you off in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They just take it out of your bank account and they might be permitted to do that. At the same time, you could be in a situation where you have no recourse. You might be able to sue them or let’s say they might be prosecuted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be able to get your money back. You’ll get a judgment against them. There might be restitution that they have to pay you back, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get your money back.

So that’s why you must go ahead and change up all of your powers of attorney and other similar documents. Whether it’s at a bank or other places, you don’t want to have to worry about that going into the future. Now, if you completely trust the person that’s fine, but in the context of divorce, you’re probably not going to put a whole lot of trust in your soon to be former spouse.

That consists of today’s topic. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at (304) 720 4412 or email us at CTA (1).png