Power of Attorney
If we had a billboard on I-65, it would urge people to review their power of attorney with an elder law attorney. After all, at what stage in life are you most likely to need it? We see more “planning fails” in this area than anywhere else.
Why do I need a power of attorney (POA)?
A power of attorney allows you to choose someone to handle financial matters for you. If you lose the ability to handle your own affairs, a court might otherwise decide who does this. In most cases, a POA allows you to avoid an expensive and troublesome court-ordered conservatorship.
All POA's are not created equal.
Many powers of attorney (POA's) are not built for middle class folks. They may authorize your agent to do things like vote corporate stock on your behalf, but they will leave you (and possibly your children) exposed if you need long-term care. On about a weekly basis, we see elders who thought they were prepared with a standard form power of attorney – but instead their POA was missing things that they needed.
Springing or not? And other important questions.
Even if you aren't likely to need long term care, your power of attorney deserves careful attention. It is worthwhile to get a lawyer's advice on important decisions such as who should serve as your agent, whether the POA should be springing or immediately effective, and what specific powers to include.
Alabama's power of attorney law changed in 2012.
Alabama's law on powers of attorney got a complete overhaul in 2012. If your POA is older than 2012, it is good idea to update yours to bring it up to date with current law.
More Power of Attorney Resources: