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Have you just been given power of attorney? Has your elderly parent added you to their financial accounts so you can help with paying the bills? If so, you are now a fiduciary, with legal and ethical responsibilities to act in the best interest of the person who gave you power of attorney or added you to their bank account.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 to protect consumers by making and enforcing consumer financial laws, recently introduced four Managing Someone Else’s Money guides to help those who are acting as agents under power of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees and government fiduciaries.

The primary rules that fiduciaries should follow include:

Always act in the person’s best interest. You are not allowed to use their money for yourself or others and need to avoid any conflict of interest.

Manage money and property correctly. Pay bills on time and consider investment decisions carefully. Get help if you need it.

Keep assets separate. Be sure you keep your assets totally separate from those you are managing on behalf of another person.

Maintain good records. You are responsible for accounting for all transactions.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0041.