Melissa, I’ve heard that my Power of Attorney should be effective immediately – as soon as I sign it – rather than it taking effect only if I become incapacitated. Will you explain this? – Paul
Paul, our law firm is among those that recommend signing a Power of Attorney (POA) that is effective immediately. I understand that signing a document that allows someone else (known as your Agent) to have access to your personal financial information can be unnerving.
And, to that point, there is no reason for your Agent to step in and take over as long as you are still able to manage your finances on your own. The purpose of having the POA effective immediately is so that if the time comes when you need your Agent to step in, he or she can do so without a bunch of hoops to jump through and with as little embarrassment to you as possible.
If your POA only becomes effective when you are incapacitated, then your Agent will first have to prove you are incapacitated. This means your Agent will have to get you evaluated by one or more doctors who then have to write official letters stating you can no longer handle your own affairs. On the other hand, if your POA is effective the moment you sign it, then all your Agent has to do is present a copy of the POA to the bank or other financial institution and he or she can now start handling things – no medical appointments, no evaluations, and no delay.
Your Agent should be someone you explicitly trust not to take advantage of a position of financial power. If you select the right individual, then there is little risk in having your POA be immediately effective. 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.