Craig P. Tiller, Esq., PLLC
Serving central Virginia For more than 25 years: 434-338-7093

Forest Simple Estate Planning Blog

How to alter power of attorney instructions

A Virginia resident may find themselves in a position where they want or need to amend a power of attorney. This may be necessary if there is a need to change the name of an agent or alternate agent. The agent is the person who is granted the authority to make decisions on the estate owner's behalf as per the power of attorney document. In the event that changes need to be made, the document should be replaced as opposed to amended.

This is because an outside party such as a bank won't want to make errors that it could be liable for. Therefore, it may be best to avoid the perception that a change could be fraudulent by creating a new document. Where an individual is located may also determine whether or not a power of attorney can be amended as opposed to replaced.

What a financial power of attorney can do

Virginia residents who have a financial power of attorney have appointed someone to make decisions for them if they become incapacitated. There are a number of actions that an agent can take, including paying bills or making sure that taxes are filed on time. They can also manage a person's real estate holdings or make investment decisions on behalf of whoever empowered them to do so.

While the agent may have some leeway to make financial choices, they must always be made in the grantor's best interest. It is important to specify whether a power of attorney is durable or if it expires at a later date. It is also a good idea to determine if it takes effect right away or is a springing power of attorney. Springing financial powers of attorney wouldn't take effect until a person is incapacitated, and they can also be durable in nature.

What is a simple will?

It is easy to procrastinate when it comes to making a will. It is not fun to have to think about your eventual death. It is natural for us to believe we will die so far into the future that we have time later to get to a will. The problem is, if you die unexpectedly without a valid last will and testament, it will be up to state law to decide what happens to your estate. Any of your final wishes will not be known.

The easy way to make sure your final wishes are carried out is by creating a simple will. Also known as a basic will, this document can accomplish everything you may need in a will without being as time consuming as a complex will. Even if you believe your family knows what to do when you pass, having a will takes away any confusion that may arise.

Why a person may decline to be an agent

If a person is designated by a parent or close friend as that individual's power of attorney, that person has a right to decline. There are many reasons why this may be a good idea. For instance, the parent may live in Virginia while the child designated as power of attorney lives on the other side of the country. It is also possible that whoever is asked to fulfill the role simply isn't capable of doing so.

Even if the designated person feels capable of doing so when asked to fulfill the role, life events could make that impossible in the future. For instance, someone who works 60 hours a week may not have time to make emergency decisions or be available for days at a time in case something happens. It is also important to consider how the family dynamic will change prior to agreeing to be power of attorney.

Do I really need an advance medical directive?

An advance medical directive is a type of legal document that allows someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. This document makes a lot of sense for someone who is elderly or who suffers from a serious illness. But if you are young and in good health, you may be wondering: Is it really necessary for me to make one?

Everyone should have an advance medical directive

Power of attorney problems to avoid

Power of attorney documents can be a very important part of planning for the unexpected. These documents allow individuals to select “agents” who would have the power to make decisions for them, such as financial or health care decisions.

A common goal of power of attorney documents is to make it so, if incapacity were to strike, you would promptly have someone you trust in charge of your affairs. However, there are things that could get in the way of powers of attorney working as effectively as you might want. It can be important to be aware of these potential issues and what can be done to prevent them. Today, we’ll discuss four such problems.

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Craig P. Tiller, Esq., PLLC

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Forest, VA 24551

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