When Statutory Short Form Powers of Attorney Aren't Enough
October 29, 2013
North Carolina provides a statutory short form power of attorney in N.C.G.S. Chapter 32A-1. Other states provide a similar power of attorney (POA). While North Carolina should be lauded for creating such a form for the benefit of its citizens, this POA will often fall short of meeting a client's goals. This short form POA does not:
Waive accountings to the Clerk.
Adequately address long-term care planning needs (such as gifting or renunciations).
Generally allow enough flexibility for estate planning purposes.
Allow for an alternate attorney-in-fact.
The last bullet point may be the most important. Having an alternate or successor attorney-in-fact in place is more than just sound planning. It is common sense. After all, why go through all the trouble of creating these documents only to be frustrated if the named attorney-in-fact cannot or will not serve? Properly drafted POA's can name an alternate or allow for the primary attorney-in-fact to name an alternate if necessary. As always, naming a trusted individual to act as your primary or alternate attorney-in-fact is crucial.
Talking with an attorney about what powers you want included or excluded from a POA is always a good idea. An attorney can help you explore issues you may not have thought of, or explain questions you may have about how the POA operates.
Although a POA can be a stand-alone document, it is often included in a will package or other aspects of estate planning. Regardless of how it is used, it is a great idea to have one in place. Contact our office to discuss how such a document can help you plan for the future.