You may have understood the value of adding powers of attorney to your estate plan even when you were a young professional. You named someone that you trusted to handle your financial needs and someone else to make medical choices.
The protection provided by powers of attorney can give you years of peace of mind because you know that someone who will act in your best interests can step up when you are vulnerable and need outside support. Unfortunately, the documents you drafted won’t remain perpetually effective.
They will be the most beneficial if you occasionally review them and update them. When is it necessary to revise your powers of attorney?
When your personal relationships have changed
Whether you named a sibling who has since moved across the country to act as your medical agent or you named a cousin in your financial power of attorney who has since died, you may have to review your power of attorney because the person you need to act on your behalf is no longer able or willing to serve in that role for your protection.
On the other hand, they could still be able to do so, but you may not trust them with that responsibility because of a change in your relationship. If anything happens to the person you name to act in your stead or if your relationship with them undergoes a dramatic and likely lasting shift, you may need to revisit your power of attorney and select someone else to take that role.
When your resources change
The preferences you outline in an advanced directive and the instructions you provided to the person who will make your medical choices might reflect your health and insurance coverage. On the other hand, the instructions provided for someone given access to specific bank accounts in a financial power of attorney may no longer be accurate.
When you shift the way that you organize your finances, when your resources or insurance change or when you are medical or financial needs change, you may need to update your powers of attorney to reflect those new circumstances.
Periodic review is also helpful
Even if there hasn’t been a noteworthy or dramatic change in your assets or relationships since you created your estate plan, occasionally reviewing all of your documents, including your powers of attorney, will be a smart choice.
Reviewing all of your estate planning documents every few years will help you make adjustments when such changes are necessary and will help ensure your documents remain valid and enforceable despite changes in your personal circumstances and the law.