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Changing Your Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document in which the principal appoints someone they trust as an agent to make decisions and act on their behalf.  The agent does not have to be an attorney, but a lawyer should draft the power of attorney documents because there are many different types of powers of attorney and just as many types of provisions to be included or excluded.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are different types of power of attorney.  For example, an agent under a power of attorney for property or finances can make decisions with regards to assets that the principal owns, such as a home or other real estate and accounts. A power of attorney for personal care allows the agent to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf and usually is a standalone legal tool but it could also be an element of an advance directive, along with a living will.

When To Change Your Power of Attorney

You should change your power of attorney if you experience a major life-changing event like a new marriage or divorce.  Your power of attorney should be transferred if you lose trust in or contact with your current agent or if he or she becomes legally incompetent to make decisions, has become terminally ill or has passed away.

How to Change Your Power of Attorney

You can change your power of attorney, advance directive or living will at any time with the assistance of your estate planning lawyer.  Make sure your lawyer is aware that you are updating an existing power of attorney so that the wording in the new document revokes all previous power of attorneys that you have.

In order to change your power of attorney, the only condition you must meet is legal competence because you are required to be competent to execute legal documents.  By law, if a person lacks legal capacity, then he or she can not sign any legal documents including a power of attorney.  The only recourse is then a guardianship proceeding through the court, which is a very time-consuming and costly process.

We Can Help

Powers of attorney may seem straightforward, but there are many laws regulating their use.  Our elder law attorneys in Pittsburgh can help you create or change your power of attorney.

Please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online to find out more.