UPDATE: News broke today that Alanis Morissette's Business Manager was charged with stealing Millions of dollars from his clients, including Morissette. So heed this advice:
Do NOT let anyone sign cheques on your behalf! Resist at all costs, it can be the difference between a healthy retirement fund and bankruptcy. Think Bernie Madoff. Your Business Manager will make a point of showing you what a pain in the ass it is to sign off on all your payments. He/she will call you with an emergency 'if we don't get this payment out right away we'll lose this (fill in the blank)' etc. You are busy, out and about and won't be home for hours, they'll say 'if you'd just give me authorization to sign on your behalf you could save yourself this hassle." You will want to agree because it is a pain in the ass. Don't!
You can set up an account with funds to cover your monthly nut and approve expenses at the beginning of each month. You can give them authorization to sign on that account only. Come the end of the month you will have to replenish that account and approve the next month's expenses, they will try to convince you it'd be easier if you just let them have the authority to transfer funds from one of your other accounts - NEVER DO THIS!
We've all heard the horror stories, i.e., Leonard Cohen learning that his trusted Business Manager and friend for decades absconded with his retirement funds. This altered his plans and forced him to work longer than he wanted to. Granted, it also resulted in his blessing the world with some of his most incredible music, but he was egregiously betrayed and that feeling is heinous. The violation of trust does serious soul damage. We also hear of child stars suing their parents for misappropriation of funds - I mean, if you can't even trust your own parents......
The Business Manager is also referred to as the five percenter. Most Artists have a Manager, Agent and Business Manager who get a percentage of their income, not to mention the government. The Manager usually gets 15%, the Agent gets 10%, the Business Manager usually gets 5%, the Government gets a boatload and you, the one bringing in the money, are left with about 50% of what you earned. Everyone's got their hands in your pocket.
Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Madoff's of the world didn't start out intending to rob their clients, it was a gradual thing. They become envious of the lifestyle of their clients. They'd decide their clients were irresponsible with their money and therefore didn't deserve to have so much. They'd believe themselves to be much more deserving, entitled, and might start with taking a little extra here and there. They'd also convince themselves that they'd attract more monied clients if they exhibited success, So they'd 'borrow' a little more to create the impression that they were successful, They don't know when to stop. When they get away with a little, they take a little more, and then a little more. They create false documents to show how well they've invested your money, you will recommend them to friends.....they will borrow from Peter to pay Paul, they will get in over their head and get busted, but that doesn't get you your money back.
They're not all like that obviously, but don't even give them the rope. Do not give them the authority to spend your money. Make sure it's your signature on everything that separates you from your money. I cannot stress this enough!