When Kathryn Avery’s 93-year-old Dad moved out of a retirement home and into the home she shares with her husband, she was shocked to learn of the strict accounting rules that come along with setting up a joint checking account so that she could pay her father's expenses.

“I am required to account for every single dime and to justify every expense,” Avery told Financial Advisor magazine. “It’s tricky.”

That’s because Colorado is among the states that have enacted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA).

“It’s important to be aware of what your role and responsibility is when caring for an aging parent financially, because if you fail the state could potentially become an agent, fiduciary or guardian under your mom or dad’s power of attorney,” said Avery, who is a retirement readiness expert.

Although the Uniform Act was drafted and approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2006, only 25 of the 51 states have enacted it to date.

“It has quite a lot of specificity, which creates consequences when a family member named power of attorney of an elder falls short,” says Michael Hackard, an estate and trust litigation attorney and author of The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse.

A uniform law is not a requirement but rather it’s model legislation that a state’s legislature can choose to adopt or not.

“Uniform laws move slowly,” said Benjamin Orzeske, chief counsel with the Uniform Law Commission in Chicago.

 “When a particular state legislature is ready to review their law, they'll often consider our act as a starting place.”

Texas, North Carolina, Wyoming and New Hampshire adopted it in 2017 while Georgia, Mississippi and the District of Columbia merely introduced it this year. “The city council of D.C. could pass it by the end of the year since they are still in session but the state legislatures of Georgia and Mississippi are not back in session again until 2018 at which time they could review it again,” Orzeske told Financial Advisor Magazine.

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