Powers of Attorney and Conservatorships
Acting on Behalf of a Member
PEERS cannot provide you with legal advice or prepare personal legal documents for you. Consult with your personal attorney regarding any legal document to ensure that the document specifies your wishes and complies with applicable law.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document by which you appoint a person to act on your behalf as your agent. If you have appointed an agent by a power of attorney, acts of the agent within the authority spelled out in the power of attorney are legally binding on you, just as though you performed the acts yourself.
PEERS requires that a power of attorney be "durable." This means that the power of the agent to act on your behalf continues despite your later incapacity. Some PEERS members choose to prepare a durable power of attorney to prepare for the possibility of becoming incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage their financial affairs. With a durable power of attorney, it is possible to delegate to a trusted family member or friend the authority to make direct deposit arrangements or sign necessary documents pertaining to your PEERS benefits – and you can restrict this authority from becoming effective unless and until you become incapacitated.
PEERS also requires that the power of attorney that is provided be either an original or a certified copy of the original. A certified copy requires the following language from a notary public:
"On this ___ day of ______________, 20 __, before me, the undersigned notary public, personally appeared ______________________, and provided me with the original durable power of attorney which I have compared to the attached document and that the attached document is a true and accurate copy of the original durable power of attorney.
In witness whereof, I hereunto set my hand and official seal."
Even if a member has a durable power of attorney on file, the member may still act on his or her own with regard to his or her PEERS membership.
A conservator is a person or a corporation, such as a bank or trust company, appointed by a court (usually the probate division of the circuit court) to manage the property of a minor or of an adult person who has been legally determined to be disabled. When a conservator has been appointed for a PEERS member, the member cannot act on his or her own behalf with regard to his or her PEERS membership.
A conservator, under the supervision of the court, is responsible for the protection and management of the protectee's financial estate (as opposed to a guardian who is responsible for care, treatment, housing, etc.). The conservator must properly and prudently invest the protectee's assets, apply such assets for the protectee's care and maintenance and account for all funds received and expended on behalf of the protectee.