When to Update a Power of Attorney:

A power of attorney (POA) is an important legal tool.  It is commonly used for estate planning, medical management, financial management, and real estate transactions. A POA should be reviewed every few years for possible updates.  It may become necessary to update a power of attorney when life situations change, a new agent is needed, or when there are changes in the law.  You have the right to amend or revoke a power of attorney any time, and doing so is a relatively simple process.

Reasons to Update a Power of Attorney:

There are many reasons one may want to update their power of attorney.  Everybody’s situation is different, and everybody’s situation changes over time.

Life Changes:

Common changes in life situation that may trigger a need to update a power of attorney include:

  • Getting married is usually a good reason to change your mandatary (or agent) to your spouse.
  • Getting divorced or separated is a good reason to remove your spouse from your power of attorney.
  • Your child is grown and wants the responsibility.
  • Acquiring or selling property or businesses.
  • Moving to another state and the laws in that state are different.
  • You agent has moved to another state and distance makes their appointment unfeasible.

Problems with Your Representative:

It is also common to need to change your agent:

  • Your agent dies or becomes incapacitated themselves.
  • Your agent is in jail or under indictment.
  • Your agent grows too old and unreliable.
  • You have a falling out with your agent.

Changes in the Law:

Don’t let your power of attorney become powerless.  Another reason to review your power of attorney every few years is to check for legislative changes.  As new laws are passed, additional provisions may need to be added to keep them current and prevent them from being rejected.

For instance, your medical power of attorney should include language about the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act (UHCDA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Further, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) was enacted in 2006, but not every state has adopted it yet, including Louisiana.  If it is ever adopted, you should review your financial or general power of attorney for necessary changes.

Changes in the Powers Granted:

Powers of attorney are very flexible.  There are many different powers that can be conferred.  Your life situation may be the same and you may still trust your agent, but you may simply want to expand or restrict the powers have given to your agent.

How to Update a Power of Attorney:

You must make any updates in writing.  Updating your power of attorney is as simple as executing a revocation and executing a new power of attorney.  If changing your agent you will want to notify him or her as well so that they know to cease any actions on your behalf.  If this is because of a falling out or lack of trust, it would be wise to execute the revocation first and send the revocation to any financial institutions or entities that have your existing power of attorney on file prior to notifying your prior agent of the change.

Louisiana Estate Planning Attorneys:

We are a Gretna law firm that has served the New Orleans area since 1980.  Our estate planning lawyers can help you revoke and update your existing power of attorney.  We take pride in offering a personal and trusted experience.  Call us today for a free consultation and find out why so many of our clients come back to us.

how to update a power of attorney

Call us today for a free telephone consultation with an estate planning attorney.