Powers of Attorney are the most important estate planning documents we all should have while alive. Without one, there will be no one to act for you on your behalf if you cannot act for yourself. This may sound like something you’ll never need, or maybe only something you’d need if you were elderly or diagnosed with dementia, but the truth is you never know what can happen. If you were to become suddenly ill, injured, or incapacitated, you will need someone who can act on your behalf in all matters. To do that they will need a Power of Attorney document.
Not all legal documents are created equally, however, and you may need more than one Power of Attorney to make sure everything is addressed. There are two that we highly recommend, a Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters, and a Health Care Power of Attorney.
Washington amended its “Power of Attorney” statute effective in January 2017, which changed what would need to be included. Likewise, in 2004 and 2012. Which means that your “attorney in fact” (i.e. the person you name and empower to act for you should you need/wish them to) shall not be able to perform certain acts such as amend or revoke an employee benefit plan, trust agreement, deal with banking matters, certain real estate transfers and the like unless specifically provided for in the Power of Attorney document. This has led to the drafting of comprehensive documents designed to encompass every conceivable situation your “attorney in fact” may be asked to perform. Given differences in dealing with financial versus health care matters, separate documents have been recommended for each.
To learn more about these documents and how to set them up for you and or your loved ones, we recommend you attend one of our FREE workshops where you will learn more about these documents, and much more! Register today!