If you’re like most people, it hasn’t occurred to you that you need to update your financial power of attorney on a regular basis. Updates are required for a couple of reasons, but the main reason to update is to better ensure that your financial power of attorney is accepted when needed.
“Old” powers of attorney are often refused. Sure, your agent could sue the refusing institution, but who wants to deal with that? It’s better to have an up-to-date power of attorney that will be accepted.
If your power of attorney was executed (i.e. signed) more than 5 years ago, get a new one.
It is also beneficial to update your financial power of attorney because life changes. Your named agent or successor agent may have become incapacitated or died.
Or, perhaps, you are just ready to name someone else. For example, you may have gotten remarried, or your children may now be adults and you want to name them.
In addition to life changes, there are always changes in the law. A new power of attorney will catch all these changes. Even though your old power of attorney is legally valid, your agent may have trouble getting it honored if it doesn’t have current legal requirements.
Your estate planning attorney also continues to learn how to help you in better ways. There may be new terminology, language, or techniques that she will incorporate into your new power of attorney.
Be sure to update immediately if you’ve moved to a new state. While moving doesn’t invalidate your old power of attorney, if it doesn’t meet the requirements of your new state, it is likely going to be more difficult to get it honored.
In addition to the financial power of attorney, be sure to update your health care power of attorney and your child care power of attorney as well.