Another Person’s Money
In the 1990’s there was a great movie titled “Other People’s Money” with Danny DeVito. The plot of the film had nothing to do with estate planning, but the title intrigued me, because it hinted at the issues of powers of attorney, trustees and guardianships. Those individuals are entrusted with handling “other people’s money”. Fast forward to 2014, and the title of a series of guides, “Managing Someone Else’s Money. It is a series of booklets published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)- a government agency. As stated on the website http://www.consumerfinance.gov/managing-someone-elses-money, ‘the primary audience for the guide is family members and friends with legal authority to handle an incapacitated person’s funds.” Reading that statement…From my attorney perspective there are lots of definitions to consider…What constitutes a family member? What determines a friend? What precisely is the legal authority? How is the word “handle” to be defined? and lastly and the big one,The precise legal definition/context of “incapacitated”.
According to the government website, There are four categories of “financial caregivers”: those with powers of attorney; court appointed guardians; trustees and government fiduciaries. The regulations guiding the financial obligations and actions of each are often complex and the booklets are a good beginning source of basic information. Within each guide there are also practical tips for people who have become the financial caregivers for others. The booklets are free on download, and free is good! They can be downloaded directly from the website.