Planning ahead for incapacity is an important step for those who want to be sure their desires are followed when they’re no longer able to make their own decisions - however not all planning is equal. A recent story by Paula Span in the New York Times, “Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless” highlights the problems some may face using Power of Attorney documents with financial institutions. As Span discusses, financial institutions may not accept the authority granted by your power of attorney and will instead insist their account owners sign a power of attorney from that institution. This covers them from liability, but can certainly be a headache for those who thought they had done the work needed to represent someone else.
How do you ensure you aren’t stuck in this situation? Planning with an experienced estate planning attorney or elder law attorney is a great start. It may be cheap or easy to obtain a Power of Attorney document from an online service or an attorney who doesn’t specialize in estate or elder law, but that document may not get you very far in the long run. An experienced estate or elder law attorney will carefully craft a Power of Attorney to cover all your bases - and have the knowledge and expertise to back it up should a financial institution question the authority of the document.
Are you or a loved one in need of power of attorney documents? Contact Alles Law today for a free consultation to discuss your personal situation or to hear more about our power of attorney services in Grand Rapids.