Wednesday, May 1, 2013
It is important for estate planners to understand the an agent's duties to the principal and conflicts of interest that can arise. It is especially important for those drafting powers of attorney so that the document meets the agent's objectives and provides guidance to the appointed agent. A current problem is that drafting attorneys often overlook and do not adjust the agent's duties to accommodate the expectations of the principal. Because of this, conflicts of interest tend to arise between the customary duty of loyalty and what the principal expects of his or her agent. One possible solution is to "improve the agent's understanding of the authority granted in the power of attorney, the principal's expectations for exercise of that authority, and the duties an agent must meet when carrying out the principal's expectations."
See Linda S. Whitton, Understanding Duties and Conflicts of Interest - A Guide For The Honorable Agent, 117 Penn St. L. Rev. 1037 (2013).
Special thanks to Katherine Pearson (Professor of Law, Penn State University - The Dickinson School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.