Q: my husband filed a complaint for divorce, now he wants to change his power of attorney Can he do this?
A: I presume that for estate planning purposes, you were listed as his power of attorney but because of the divorce filing, he no longer wants you in charge of his financial affairs moving forward. If my understanding is correct, that is very common, and I would simply suggest that you and he agree as to specific changes to be made to your estate planning together ( if possible) so that neither feels that the other is doing anything deceitful or to take advantage of the other.
A: Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that you are going through this stressful time. Although your husband is seeking to change his Power of Attorney after filing for divorce, it is common to review one's Power of Attorney designation prior to filing a divorce complaint. Also, there may be estate documents of close family members that have named you or your husband as their attorney in fact. A review of this information may be prudent. Do you and your husband have a Durable Power of Attorney? If so, are they drafted to include limited powers or to include unlimited powers? It is common for spouses to have named each other as Executor/Beneficiary in their Will, as Health Care Representative in their Advance Health Care Directive, and as Attorney in fact in their Durable Power of Attorney. There can be a potential problem when one spouse decides to deplete the other’s accounts through the use of a Power of Attorney. It may be wise to revoke a Power of Attorney which was previously granted. This involves notifying all financial institutions involved, in writing, and requesting that copies of the Power of Attorney be given back or destroyed. If assets have been wrongly dissipated by one spouse to the detriment of the other, the court will make a determination as to fault, the amount dissipated, and whether the amount should be charged against the other’s share of marital assets. Additional information is required to better assist you and I strongly urge you to schedule an attorney consultation for further guidance on this issue.
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