Should an Agent Under Durable Power of Attorney Have the Power to Change Account Beneficiaries?

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a powerful legal tool that allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated. One crucial decision to consider when creating a DPOA is whether to grant your agent the authority to change beneficiary designations on your accounts. While this decision may seem significant, there are compelling reasons to allow your agent to make changes to beneficiary designations. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of including this authority in your DPOA, highlighting the potential benefits and considerations for protecting your financial interests and ensuring your wishes are honored.

Possible Benefits

  1. Flexibility in Estate Planning: Granting your agent the authority to change beneficiary designations provides flexibility in your estate planning. It allows your agent to update beneficiary designations to reflect changes in your life circumstances, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, or the passing of a loved one.
  2. Adaptation to Changing Relationships: Allowing your agent to modify beneficiary designations enables your estate plan to adapt to evolving relationships. This can be particularly important if you wish to ensure that your assets are distributed in a way that aligns with your current familial and personal dynamics.
  3. Mitigating Family Conflicts: By providing your agent with the ability to update beneficiary designations, you can potentially reduce the risk of family conflicts arising from outdated or disputed estate planning documents. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes among beneficiaries.
  4. Maximizing Benefits for Loved Ones: Allowing your agent to adjust beneficiary designations can help maximize the benefits your loved ones receive from your estate. It enables your agent to make strategic decisions that consider the financial needs and circumstances of your beneficiaries.
  5. Ensuring Efficient Asset Distribution: Granting your agent the authority to change beneficiary designations can streamline the distribution of your assets. This can help avoid delays and complications in the settlement of your estate, ensuring a more efficient transfer of your assets to your intended beneficiaries.
  6. Addressing Unforeseen Circumstances: Allowing your agent to update beneficiary designations enables them to respond to unforeseen circumstances that may impact your estate plan. This proactive approach can help protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones are appropriately provided for in unexpected situations.
  7. Continuity in Financial Management: Providing your agent with the ability to modify beneficiary designations ensures continuity in the management of your financial affairs. It allows your agent to uphold your intentions and make decisions that reflect your current priorities and goals.


Granting your agent the authority to change beneficiary designations through a Durable Power of Attorney is a strategic decision that can have far-reaching implications for your estate planning. By enabling your agent to make these changes, you empower them to adapt your estate plan to changing circumstances, protect your assets, and promote the financial well-being of your beneficiaries. It’s important to work with a trusted legal advisor to establish clear guidelines and instructions for your agent to ensure that your wishes are honored and your legacy is preserved.