power of attorney blog

12 Dec An Outdated Power of Attorney Can Be a Bummer

Having a current, updated power of attorney (POA) is a vitally important component of the estate planning process. It is a common mistake for individuals to let their initial POA paperwork expire, or be outdated, which can negatively affect the distribution of your inheritance in the way you desire. Phelps Law, located in Scottsdale and Gilbert Arizona, is passionate about strategic estate planning with living wills, living trusts as well as including an updated power of attorney.

What is a Power Of Attorney?

When setting yourself up for an effective and successful future, establishing a responsible power of attorney is important. This is a person to whom you have assigned authority to make decisions for you in legal, medical or financial matters upon your incapacitation or death. There are two types, which include the durable power of attorney for health care, and a durable financial power of attorney. These can be two individuals, or both assigned to one individual, depending on your preference. The individual named as the POA will have access to your bank accounts, can file your taxes, and can even possibly change the beneficiaries of your estate. The person executing this role will determine how well your assets are distributed, and how well your wishes are followed, so it is vitally important to be sure your POA paperwork is current.

Outdated POA

What does it mean for a power of attorney to be outdated? With laws continually changing, the terms under which you set up your initial power of attorney can become outdated, or even expire, if that is written in the documents. It is important to review your POA regularly and keep it updated to avoid the following issues:

  • Under updated laws, your POA may still be valid, but not interpreted as you would hope, thus resulting in your specific wishes not being followed.
  • Banks and other institutions may not allow your POA access to financial decisions if the paperwork for them is out of date.
  • If you move and don’t update your address, only fifteen states currently accept out-of-state forms. Therefore, all of your planning may be invalid.
  • Changes with HIPAA may not be reflected in outdated POA forms, and therefore cause issues with making needed decisions.

There are many negatives such as time constraints, cost, and frustrations that can arise with an outdated power of attorney. To avoid these headaches and to be sure you have someone to make decisions for you when you cannot, contact Phelps Law today! We are here to help and ensure that all your needs are met upon incapacitation or death.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/12/2017) ThoroughlyReviewed (Flickr)