Law Offices of David G. Arganian, Seattle, WA

Should Henry Update His Financial Power of Attorney?

Because a friend was recently hospitalized with a heart condition, Henry is thinking about his own financial power of attorney. Is it time to update?

Life changes rapidly, if you want your estate planning documents to work, they must reflect life changes. Estate planning documents, including a financial power of attorney face changes in the law, changes in the principal's personal and financial life, and estate planning attorneys constantly strive to offer improved techniques.
Henry considers his current financial power of attorney which was executed 9 years ago. In that time:

• Henry has gotten divorced and is now single.
• His children are now ages 21 and 25.
• He moved from New Mexico to Texas.
• He discovered that his beloved brother has a drinking problem.
• He started a new geological exploration business.

Is it time for Henry to update his financial power of attorney? Absolutely, yes. And, this is why:

• Powers of attorney get stale; if a power of attorney is more than three to five years old, it's stale and may not be honored by financial institutions when you need it.
• Because Henry has gotten divorced since his power of attorney was executed, he likely still has his ex-spouse named as his agent; this may not be want Henry would want.
• Henry's children have attained the age of majority. It's time to consider whether, or not, they would be appropriate agents. Likely not for the 21 year old; maybe for the 25 year old.
• Because Henry moved to a new state, his old power of attorney, while likely still legally valid, may not be honored because it looks different than Texas powers of attorney.
• Henry is now aware that his brother has a drinking problem. If the brother is named as an agent or contingent agent, it is best to remove him.
• Henry has a new business; he may need a business power of attorney as well.

If life has changed since you executed your financial power of attorney, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney and get it updated.

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