The Social Security Administration will NOT accept any power of attorney documents. They will only communicate with and work with an individual named as the Representative Payee. This is the form to be named as a Representative Payee: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-11.pdf.
What Other Institutions May Not Accept My Power of Attorney?
Most financial institutions will be hesitant to honor a power of attorney that is more than three to five years old, is from another state, or if the signature looks questionable. They are afraid that they will be held liable if they honor a power of attorney that has been revoked, is invalid, or was signed under coercion.
When is My Financial Power of Attorney Effective?
Most financial powers of attorney are effective as soon as you sign them. Some financial powers of attorney are drafted as “springing” which means that they are effective when a specific event occurs. They event is typically an individual’s disability.
The authority of your power of attorney ends at your death. The moment you die, it is no longer effective. In addition, you can revoke your power of attorney during your lifetime.
Do I Need a Financial Power of Attorney?
If you are age 18 or older, you need a financial power of attorney. If you don’t have one and you become incapacitated, your loved ones will have to go to court and request a guardianship proceeding. The guardianship proceeding is called a “conservatorship” in some states.
Court interference is a loss of control as the court, not you, chooses who manages and invests your assets and pays your bills. The court may even appoint a stranger such as a local attorney. All this costs a lot of money, takes time, and is a stress for your loved ones.
If you don’t have a financial power of attorney, or yours is more than three to five years old, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to get a new power of attorney in place.