How to assign power of attorney without sparking a family feud

Offit Kurman Estate Planning Attorney, James Gillis, Quoted by Considerable

Originally Published by Considerable 

July 10, 2019 | Tysons Corner, VA  Having joint power of attorney between two siblings is also an option families can explore.

James Gillis, an estate planning attorney at Offit Kurman, explained: “A principal could appoint two or more agents. The agents would either have to act jointly (both agents have to agree in order to act) or independently (each agent has full authority to act alone).”

This option may lessen the chances for jealousy and mistrust within the family, but can also prolong and complicate decision-making. And it creates the possibility that the siblings simply cannot agree on something and an important decision remains gridlocked indefinitely.

Or, as Gillis explained, “Appointing independent agents gives them more flexibility to help the parent manage his or her affairs. Appointing joint agent gives the principal somewhat more protection, since the agents have to act together and therefore serve as a check on each other.”

Whether one individual or more are entrusted with power of attorney, communication and transparency are the most important factors in avoiding painful disputes among family members.


Click Here to Read The Full Article




James A. Gillis’s practice is focused on estate planning, transfer and income tax planning, and trust and estate administration in Virginia.  Mr. Gillis regularly assists clients with the selection of fiduciaries, and the preparation of revocable and various types of irrevocable trusts to avoid probate, reduce transfer tax, protect assets for future generations, and provide support for beneficiaries with special needs.  Mr. Gillis also assists with the administration of estates and trusts.


Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the mid-Atlantic region. With over 185 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients along the I95 corridor in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

Find out why Offit Kurman is The Better Way to protect your business, your assets and your family by connecting via our BlogFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to receive LawMatters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.