Most individuals recognize the importance of comprehensive estate planning, although they may still choose to avoid it. One important part of your estate plan is your power of attorney (“POA”). Basically, a POA is a document that nominates an individual to make legal decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. You can choose the extent of the decision-making power you vest in the individual you have chosen by working together with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine how to best represent your goals. However, it is important to be aware of some of the pitfalls that could weaken your POA. According to a recent article from Forbes, the following tips may help you do just that.
Use an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Too many people decide to cut corners by using any number of online forms and legal information available for download. However, these forms are not tailored to a client’s individual needs, nor do they help you understand important aspects about making sure your POA and other estate planning documents meet the needs you have expressed. Designing your POA and other estate planning documents with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you make sure that your estate plan complies with the law. This can save you and your loved ones time, money, and stress down the line. With something as important as estate planning, you want to be sure that you
Make Sure to Incorporate Legislative Changes
The law is always changing, and the law governing estate planning is no exception. You want to make sure that you stay aware of any changes in your state’s laws that could affect your POA or other estate planning documents. Sometimes, these changes can be so significant that they can actually cause your estate planning documents to be void. One commonly overlooked omission is lack of proper HIPPA language. HIPPA refers to a set of laws surrounding patient privacy when it comes to medical information. Without proper HIPPA language, your designated POA may not be able to access your personal information.
Periodically Review Your Documents
You should review your estate planning documents every two to three years. This will help you ensure that all of your estate planning documents continue to meet your needs and goals. Additionally, major life events should be cause for you to review your documents as well. For instance, the death of a spouse that may have been your designee for power of attorney could impact your documents. A divorce could also cause you to change your mind regarding which individual should serve in roles such as this. A dedicated, thorough estate planning attorney will help you understand the process of updating your estate planning documents. Some, like Ettinger Law Firm, even offer periodic reviews to make sure that your estate plan still meets your needs.