There is a new Power of Attorney in Town…

…and is not a form you can download from the internet that may or may not work when you are in a coma and your trusted daughter is trying to access your bank accounts to pay your bills.

A New Act. The new act adopted by our state the legislature provides the seasoned lawyer with better tools to fashion a document which will allow that daughter to keep your finances in order while you recover. 

Better Than Internet Forms. Most forms we find on the internet are over written, largely because they try to be valid in 50 jurisdictions. Here we have a statute the bank or other third party can look to and see the power of attorney is drafted to engage, and the new act sets time limits, usually a week, for their legal department to decide whether it will be honored. If they don’t the family has remedies to force the issue in court, and potentially collect attorney fees for the trouble.

It Must Work in the Field. Most lawyers offices are littered with stories about the odd reasons banks come up with to not honor a power of attorney and Newton Kight LLP is one of them. We really have seen so much we can say that drafting a power of attorney is not something for amateurs, but fashion the document based on experience, enhancing as the new statute does a more likely scenario  where the bank has no choice but to honor it.

Shortcuts have Unintended Consequences. Many people take a short cut to solve the one issue of access to the bank account by adding the trusted daughter to that signature card, but that carries risks of disrupting the estate plan as a whole.  So generally we find the adoption of a comprehensive power of attorney not only for financial matters but also health care is the best practice.

A Properly Drafted Power of Attorney is a Prudent Investment. The Washington state legislature has acted responsibly and generated a new power of attorney statute, which if properly drafted and employed can and will avoid an expensive guardianship proceeding to manage things for you when you can not. 

The price of having us draft this is generally modest; you will find it remarkably inexpensive insurance against that time when you need help.