28 Dec Success Story Of The Month: The Powerful Power Of Attorney
Client created a basic estate plan including a will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, directive to physicians a/k/a living will, HIPPA authorization and declaration of guardian in the event of later incompetence. The client gave extra powers to the agent in the financial durable power of attorney including the ability to create or amend revocable trusts and to fund such trusts in addition to the standard powers such as handling real estate transactions. The client’s will distributed her estate equally outright to her children. The client comes back (in poor health) two years later as she wants to avoid probate. Furthermore, she is concerned about a marital problem of one of her children. She still wants everything to pass equally (particularly her most expensive asset, her real estate). She just wants to protect her child (or children), have one child in charge and avoid probate.
After discussing the options, she chose to have a revocable living trust that included asset protection trusts within the revocable living trust to protect her children from marital issues in addition to protecting the assets held in the children’s trusts from lawsuits.
The documents were immediately prepared and ready to be signed. However, her health rapidly declined and she was no longer able to sign the revocable living trust or deeds.
In an effort to follow her wishes, the power of attorney (which gave the extra power of creating and funding a revocable living trust) was utilized. The deed (transferring the property into the trust) and trust were signed by the agent given those powers through the financial durable power of attorney. The client died subsequently on the same day the documents were signed by the agent. The authority of the agent (through the power of attorney) to act on behalf of the client terminated when the client died. The power of attorney and deed were recorded on the same day of client’s death. When acting as agent (through the power of attorney) if real estate is involved, the financial power of attorney must be recorded.
As a result of the extra authority given in the financial power of attorney done 2 years previously, the client’s wishes (avoid probate and protection of her family) were fulfilled.
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