Power of Attorney PointersPosted by ishutt on Feb 8, 2012 in All Articles, Elder Law, Life Planning Documents | 0 comments
A power of attorney is an important estate planning document, but it should be treated with care. A power of attorney gives someone the legal authority to handle your financial affairs. This document is designed to let you name a financial helper in the event you become incapacitated in the future. Don’t take this document lightly, and consider consulting with a lawyer about a power of attorney.
Consider the following pointers:
A power of attorney can be tailored to your needs. For example, you have wide latitude in whom you can name as your agent, alternate agents, which legal powers you wish to grant, which powers you wish to reserve, when the power of attorney will spring into effect, and so forth.
These are important considerations because your agent, even if they are family members you love, can abuse the power of attorney. For instance, the agent named in your power of attorney could try to siphon money out of your estate into his/her own bank accounts.
You should periodically update your power of attorney. Pull out your power of attorney every so often to see if it needs to be updated. You would be surprised how often clients will pull out an old estate planning document and be surprised to see who they’ve appointed in the document. Families and friends change over time, and your estate planning documents need to be updated accordingly.
Also, banks are really tightening down on powers of attorney. Banks are getting picky about what they’ll accept. The bank may be skeptical of a power of attorney that was signed years ago. As such, it may be a good idea to re-sign your power of attorney every six months or every year.
In fact, you should ask your bank if they will even acknowledge a power of attorney. You don’t have to wait to find out whether or not your bank will accept your power of attorney; ask now, and if they won’t honor it, consider moving to a bank that will.
There are actually two kinds of power of attorney. You can have a power of attorney that goes into effect the day it’s signed, or you can have a “springing power of attorney.” With a springing power of attorney, the person you name as agent won’t have power until a doctor (or two doctors) sign off on a form that says you are incapacitated. The problem with a springing power of attorney is that when you most need the document (when you become incapacitated), you’ll have to schedule appointments with the doctors before the document’s power is triggered.
Make your power of attorney “durable.” A durable power of attorney will continue to have legal effect after you’re incapacitated. This is important, because, by default Texas law, a power of attorney automatically becomes ineffective upon incapacity. Special wording must be added to make the power of attorney durable.
Don’t overlook the other important estate planning documents. This article has discussed the durable power of attorney, but there is also a medical power of attorney. That separate document will give an agent the power to make medical decisions for you when you’re incapacitated. Don’t forget about your Living Will, Last Will and Testament, HIPAA authorization, and declaration of guardian. Shutt Law Firm has bundled all these documents into an affordable all-inclusive package called the Wills PLUS Planning Package. For one flat rate, attorney Isaac Shutt will provide you all the estate planning documents you’re likely to need.
Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on making a Texas Power of Attorney, a Texas Durable Power of Attorney, or about other Texas estate planning documents – or email email@example.com.
You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson lawyer for probate, Richardson Wills Lawyer, Richardson estate planning attorney, power of attorney in Richardson, TX, or guardianship attorney in Richardson area.