Did you know that once you create a Florida Durable Power of Attorney, you must continuously update it? Most of us believe that once our estate planning is complete there is no reason to revisit it. This assumption, however, is wrong. We need to consistently update our estate planning documents such as our durable power of attorney due to the changing requirements of our local institutions, state and federal laws, and our personal lives.
Is it time for you to update your documents? Let us share a few questions for you to ask yourself with regards to updating your documents as we head into the New Year.
1. Will your local institutions accept your Durable Power of Attorney if it is not updated?
While you may not immediately know the answer of this question, it is time to inquire of your financial institution. In more and more banks across the nation, powers of attorney that are over one year old are not being accepted as valid. There are many reasons why such as the bank wants to make absolutely sure your decision maker has full legal and financial authority to act on your behalf. Although this can be frustrating, it is better to plan ahead for this instance that have a document that cannot work for you due to bank policy.
2. Have our state laws changed?
Every so often, state laws change. In these instances, laws are usually updated to change or add more requirements. While we do our best to keep you informed, these law changes have the potential to impact the validity of your durable power of attorney. Be sure to inquire with us at least once a year to make sure there have been no substantial changes that could impact the validity of your estate planning documents.
3. Have federal laws changed?
Similar to state laws, federal laws change as well. For example, in 2006 the Uniform Power of Attorney Act was enacted. For states that accepted this uniform law, changes had to be made to documents like the durable power of attorney.
4. Have you moved across state lines?
If you move from one state to another, you need to make sure your durable power of attorney still has legal authority. Not all states utilize reciprocity, which means that your previous estate planning documents may not be valid anymore. Don’t wait for a crisis to learn your documents do not work anymore. Talk to your estate planning attorney to verify you have a valid document.
5. Are you confident in your current decision maker?
The entire premise of the durable power of attorney is the transfer of legal and financial power from one person to another. Your decision maker holds this power and has to make tough decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. If you named your decision maker a few years ago, double check to make sure you still have full trust in this person. If you need to name a person, contact your estate planning attorney to update your durable power of attorney before it is too late.
These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself when it comes to updating your durable power of attorney. Does this article raise more questions than it answers? Don’t wait to talk to a member of our legal team today!