A power of attorney for property is a valuable tool to protect a person’s financial wellbeing in case of incapacity. However, not all powers of attorney for property are equally effective.

A form downloaded off the internet may claim to be a valid power of attorney, but it may not work as expected when needed. Powers of attorney must comply with state law where the document will be used. State laws and regulations require that specific language be included in the document before an agent can take certain actions. If that language isn’t in the document, then the power of attorney is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Generic forms can often leave out necessary language because they are not tailored to all the scenarios a person may face in the future. When it comes time to use a power of attorney that does not have the correct language, banks, and other financial institutions may not recognize the power of attorney as valid. At this point, it can be too late to fix any problems because the person needing protection has become incapacitated.

Once someone becomes incapacitated without an effective power of attorney, it is too late fix a problem with the power of attorney. The next alternative is to go through a costly, time-consuming guardianship proceeding. If a person’s agent needs to take actions now, this can result in significant legal fees, delays, and out-of-pocket costs. These unnecessary expenses could have been avoided if the person had obtained a properly drafted power of attorney beforehand.

Powers of attorney, of all types, should be drafted by an experienced attorney who will tailor the document to a client’s particular situation. The attorney will work with the client to go over potential scenarios to consider in order to provide maximum protection for the future and compliance with state laws and regulations. The attorney can also work the power of attorney into a broader estate plan to provide ease of mind.

To create your own power of attorney for property, please call Martha C. Brown & Associates at (314) 962-0186.