Melissa, last year Mom named me her Agent under a Power of Attorney, yet she still has not done a Trust or Will. Is the Power of Attorney good enough? – Kara
Kara, a Power of Attorney is an essential legal document for almost anyone over the age of 18, so I am glad to hear Mom took that important step. However, a Power of Attorney is designed to make sure a person’s affairs are taken care of during life, not after death.
To simplify this idea, we often say, “Your Power of Attorney dies when you die”. For example, after your mom dies, her Power of Attorney will not give you authority to close her bank account, sell her house, or distribute her assets to those she wanted to receive them. If your mom does not take a further step beyond the Power of Attorney to plan for what happens to her money, property, and household goods at death, then your family will likely find themselves in Probate Court when she dies.
In Arkansas, going through Probate Court can take 9 months to 1 year or even longer, depending on how many people are involved and how much your mom has in assets. Plus, in Probate Court, approximately 3% of a person’s assets can be lost to court costs and attorney’s fees. If your mom’s wish is that her assets flow as hassle-free as possible to her loved ones when she passes, then she needs to get something done besides just the Power of Attorney.
Exactly what type of documents Mom would need depends on the specific details of her situation. We can give your mom options to avoid the time and cost involved in Probate Court and to make sure her wishes are carried out.
Call today to set up a no-charge strategy session to find out how we can help with issues like this. To learn more, check out our website, ElrodFirm.com.