Does Agent Under Durable Power of Attorney Have to Provide Accounting?
Does a durable power of attorney have to provide accountings and other financial information to the heirs of the person for whom they are acting, while the person is still alive?
No, the agent or “attorney-in-fact” under the durable power of attorney is only responsible to the person who appointed them. At least that’s the general rule. While it’s possible for the power of attorney to require reporting to others, that requirement is not included in standard forms.
The lack of an accounting requirement is in contrast to guardianships and conservatorships which require reporting to the local probate court. While estate planners usually recommend that clients execute durable powers of attorney since they are much more flexible and less cumbersome and expensive than the court proceedings required for guardianships and conservatorships, in some instances the oversight provided by the probate court can justify the extra expense and administrative burden they involve.
While reporting is not a standard requirement in durable powers of attorney, in most cases transparency is to be encouraged. Without it, family members and others who might be involved are more likely to become suspicious and question decisions the agent makes. It’s harder to question choices made after the fact if everyone was aware of what actions were taken when they happened. The only reason not to be transparent if is it might give rise to too much nitpicking and second guessing. But if that occurs, the agent should be able set some parameters on how much information they will provide and on what schedule, so that satisfying concerns of others does not become overwhelming.