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Is it time to update your power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

Power of attorney is an important estate planning tool that allows you to designate a trusted friend or family member to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated. 

Like with the other estate planning tools, a power of attorney is a live document. That means you need to evaluate this document from time to time to be certain that it’s still suitable for your needs. Therefore, if it’s been a while since you created your power of attorney, you probably need to review it. 

What can powers of attorney do for you?

When you designate someone as your power of attorney, you accord them legal permission to handle any financial or medical issues (or both) on your behalf. However, this individual can only act on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Here are some of the things your designated power of attorney may do: 

  • Buy, sell or lease property on your behalf
  • Decide treatment plans
  • Pay your debts
  • Read and respond to your emails and other communications

When should you update or change your powers of attorney?

No one knows what the future has in store. Life events like getting married, divorce, having children, divorcing, or acquiring new assets should prompt you to update your estate plan. The same life changes can also prompt you to update your power of attorney. For instance, if you designated your spouse as your power of attorney, and you have since divorced them, then you need to update your power of attorney. 

Health issues may also render the designated power of attorney incapable of executing their role when the need arises. In this case, it might make sense to appoint a new agent. Likewise, if your power of attorney is deceased or incarcerated for an extended period, you should consider updating this document. 

A power of attorney is a very important estate planning tool. Find out how you can create and ensure that your power of attorney reflects your needs