Financial Advance Directives

A tool to manage an individual's financial and legal affairs with the individual's consent, while still capable.

What is an FPOA?

A financial or general power of attorney gives the agent (or co-agents or successor agents) comprehensive authority over an individual’s legal and financial affairs, or specific grants of authority within those areas. This is primarily intended for individuals who are not capable of managing all or part of their affairs any longer. Like a medical power of attorney, the individual must give informed consent for a POA to be valid. All general powers of attorney executed after January 1, 2010 in Colorado must conform to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. This specifies that a form must be substantially of the same text as written in statute, though with the ability to modify the form as appropriate for specific grants of authority and durations.
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A tool to manage an incapable individual's Social Security benefits, SSI payments, and some Medicare enrollments.

What is a Representative Payee?

A representative payee is appointed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to manage an incapable person's affairs before SSA. The SSA does not recognize financial powers of attorney (FPOA). To conduct business with SSA on another individual's behalf, SSA must select that individual or organization as representative payee. Payees can manage an individual's applications and ongoing benefits and payments, including Social Security (Retirement, Survivor, or Disability Insurance) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, Medicare Part A and Part B enrollments, and Extra Help for Medicare Prescription Drug (Low Income Subsidy, LIS) enrollment. Payees usually must have a face-to-face interview with SSA and be selected as the most appropriate person to serve as payee.
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A tool used by the courts to manage a protected person's legal and business affairs, including finances. A conservator may be needed in addition to or instead of a guardian if there are significant assets or income.

What is a Conservatorship?

In Colorado a conservator is placed in charge of a person’s financial matters, as opposed to a guardian who is placed in charge of the care and custody of a person and is responsible for making health care and placement decisions. Conservatorship does not require that the person be found incapacitated or incompetent. A conservatorship may be opened for an adult who is unable to manage their affairs. This may be for many reasons, including conflicts of interest, an inability to effectively receive or evaluate information, or an inability to make or communicate decisions. The court may appoint an individual, a trust company, or a bank as conservator of the protected person.
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A tool used by the courts to manage a protected person's day-to-day care. A guardian may be needed in addition to or instead of a conservator if the individual cannot manage their own care.

What is a Guardianship?

In Colorado a guardian is a person lawfully vested by the courts with the power and charged with the duty of taking care of an individual. This is opposed to a conservator who is placed in charge of managing finances and legal affairs of more than day-to-day amounts. A guardianship requires a legal finding of incapacity or incompetency. A guardian makes decisions about the individuals’s medical treatment and living arrangements and determines what sort of assistance and supervision the person will receive. A guardian can only administer small amounts of money, typically under $24,000 per year.
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A tool used by unmarried individuals to establish certain rights and protections for each other that are not already provided by other instruments.

What is a Designated Beneficiary Agreement?

Two unmarried individuals who do not have other estate planning tools in place, such as a will or power of attorney, can establish certain rights and protections between each other (regardless of gender, age, etc). These protections can include rights of property, survivorship, beneficiaries of insurance, retirement plans, conservatorships, visitation, health care proxy and inheritance. In order to be valid, the individuals must give informed consent, not be married to any other person and not have another beneficiary agreement in place. In addition the form must be notarized and filed with the county clerk and recorder. The agreement terminates upon marriage of either party or by revocation by filed form.
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