- It's important to update your estate documents frequently, especially your financial power of attorney.
- Even if your documents are current and updated for five years now, once your financial power of attorney is three and a half years old, banks won't honor it.
Today's video is going to be about updating your financial power of attorney. A son brought his mother in, and there were some pretty big problems going on at the bank. Not only did the mother need someone to help her in general, but the bank had some charges that were incorrect. There were some fraudulent charges going on. Mother had made some mistakes.
When the Banks Don't Listen There's Usually a Reason
They needed a new financial power of attorney. It was either that or have a guardianship proceeding. Obviously, it's the most advantageous to have a financial power of attorney because it's cheaper, faster.
As I began talking to the mother, I began thinking that there was perhaps some competency issues. The state bar requires that I make a decision as to Mother's competency and how much she understands the legal documents and the legal situation.
I started asking Mother questions and interviewing her and ask where she was born and what her birth date was and how many children she had and where they lived and asking about her finances. Then I would circle back and ask questions in a different way.
As I was interviewing her, also, I heard this clicking noise. I didn't know what it was. I thought maybe that Mother had some hard candy in her mouth. The son said, "Oh no, Mother's got some new dentures, and they're not fitting right."
Next thing you know, the mother takes her tongue and she pushes the dentures, the top and bottom, out of her mouth, takes them in her hands, and she shows them to me like that. Obviously, that got my attention.
I continued on interviewing Mother and trying to understand her level of competency. I came to a place where I had a good feeling, good knowledge that she understood what was going on and what needed to be done. What we did was we scheduled a next appointment for her to come in and to sign the new documents we were going to create for her.
Don't Wait to Update Your Financial Power of Attorney
The moral of the story is it is extremely important that you keep your documents updated. I know no one wants to hear that. I know no one wants to hear me talk about estate planning at all, much less be told, "Hey, even if your documents may have been good five years ago, you need to come in and maybe have them redone," especially financial power of attorney.
That five‑year time period is real. Once your financial power of attorney is three and a half years old, you need to talk about getting it done. Don't even wait five years because banks won't honor it.
Mother was very sweet. The son was trying to help her. He really cared about her. He was a loving, loving son. He wanted to make sure her assets were taken care of.
We at Fouts Law Group focus on asset protection for you and for your family. We specialize in that. We are not general practitioners. We want to share our knowledge with you. We want you to have a plan that actually functions and doesn't just look pretty.
Give us a call if you'd like to schedule a free consultation. When you come in, I'll also give you a copy of my book. It is a real book available on Amazon, but you won't have to pay for it. It's called "Estate Planning in Georgia," how to leave your assets in a smart way and protect it.