Take a look at your Power of Attorney document. Now answer these questions: How long ago was it drafted? How many pages is it? Have circumstances changed since you last signed one? The answers to each of these questions can help determine how effective your Power of Attorney (POA) document will be should you become incapacitated during your lifetime. If you need someone to step in and act on your behalf in regard to certain aspects of your life, the strength of this document will be extremely important.
How long ago was it drafted? Did you know that the statutes in the state of Florida that pertain to Power of Attorney documents changed in October 2011? If your document contains language that is not in compliance with the new state statutes, you may not have as an effective document as you think you do. If your document is one that was printed off an Internet website, you cannot be sure that the language used will hold up to the Florida statutes.
How many pages does your Power of Attorney contain? Many people have a document that ranges from three to 11 pages in length. And while it is certainly better to have some sort of document instead of no document, those shorter Power of Attorney documents almost certainly will limit what your designated person or persons can do for you. For example, unless there is specific language in the POA regarding the creation of trusts, your POA may not be able to use all the tools necessary to assist you in getting Medicaid. A thorough Power of Attorney drafted by a knowledgeable estate planning attorney will include accurate language for your state and it will likely be so long that it covers every eventuality that may come up now and in your lifetime.
Have circumstances changed since you last signed a Power of Attorney? Quite frequently, people put their POA documents away and don’t review them for years or even decades. In that time, has someone you named as a primary or secondary POA died? Maybe one of those people has fallen out of your favor. Maybe they have health or mental issues of their own that would not make them a good POA for you. It is important to review your POA documents about every five years, or when significant life events occur.
At Mortellaro Law, we believe everyone should have the strongest POA documents you can have to allow your POA to assist you in every way imaginable, securing your peace of mind. If you are uncertain about how comprehensive your POA document is, or if you don’t have one, call us to set up a free consultation to review your document and your situation.