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Plymouth MN Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Minnesota Power of Attorney

You may have seen the article in last weekend’s Star and Tribune detailing the changes to our statutory power of attorney document titled “Power-of-attorney law addresses ‘rampant’ abuse“ and wondered if the power of attorney document you have safely tucked away with your estate planning documents is still valid. 

First of all, few legal documents are more fundamental than a Power of Attorney (POA). In fact, every “legal” adult should have one. Like most legal tools, the POA can be tailored to fit nearly every need. The broadest POA is the “General Durable POA.” This gives the agent you appoint authority to do nearly every legal and financial act you can do for yourself, even when you are incapacitated. That is broad authority. In the wrong hands, it can be more than dangerous.  But, do not think that a power of attorney is not worth having because n the right hands, it can be a true blessing to allow a loved one to take care of your affairs when you are not able to. 

The POA discussed in the tribune’s article is the statutory power of attorney and some safe guards have been built into a new version of the document based on a law passed in April of this year.  Parts of the law become effective in August with the rest of the law becoming effective in January of next year.  The next time you update your estate planning documents, your statutory power of attorney may look a little different but this is an effort to better the procedure for allowing another individual to step into your financial shoes if you are incapacitated or geographically unable to act on your own behalf.  This document is an invaluable tool for a family member, close friend or relative to take care of your financial matters at a time when you cannot do so. 

 


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