When creating your estate plan, you hopefully executed a durable power of attorney. This is an important document that allows someone you’ve appointed as your agent to act on your behalf with regard to your personal and financial affairs. Unfortunately, many people have a power of attorney that does not contain all of the powers that could be necessary in the future. One area in which this is especially true is with regard to long-term care planning.
3 Powers You May Need in Your Power of Attorney
Few people realize that a power of attorney drafted with broad terminology granting powers to the agent may not be sufficient. The law provides that there are certain things an agent cannot do under a power of attorney unless the power is expressly granted within the document. Three examples of these types of powers include the following:
- The power to apply for public entitlements, such as Medi-Cal.
- The power to make gifts on your behalf.
- The power to remove or add assets from or to your trust.
While the ability to make gifts, apply for benefits, or move assets in and out of a trust may not seem essential when first creating your estate plan, these powers can be very important in the future. For example, if you are suddenly faced with the need for nursing home care, your agent may need the ability to make gifts and take certain actions in order to ensure that you qualify for benefits. Similarly, if your estate plan included a gifting program in order to reduce the size of your estate and you later become incapacitated, your agent may need the power to make gifts contained within your power of attorney.
Fortunately, your estate plan can easily be amended while you are competent to incorporate missing provisions into your power of attorney. We can review your existing document to determine what changes are necessary and assist you with making them. To learn more about how we have helped our previous clients, we encourage you to check out our client testimonials page today.