Michigan Powers of Attorney – Is there an End in Sight?
Michigan estate lawyers are forever advising clients on the importance of powers of attorney. These documents can be used to name the person in charge of making another’s medical decisions, or even to take care of someone’s finances in his or her place. There are a number of great reasons to employ a power of attorney in order to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones.
There are a lot of legal ins-and-outs when it comes to these powers of attorney, which means they can be a bit confusing. A good estate lawyer in Grand Rapids or Muskegon will work with clients to ensure they have all of the pertinent information to make decisions and create the types of powers of attorney that will best serve their purposes.
One aspect that doesn’t always get a lot of consideration is how long a power of attorney lasts. For example, when you give someone the right to make your medical decisions for you, is there a time limit? Does that power ever revert to the courts? What if you gave your ex-spouse power of attorney and don’t want him or her to have it anymore?
There are actually several ways in which a power of attorney can end, and your Muskegon or Grand Rapids estate lawyer will likely go over them all with you and help make sure you have contingency plans in place to avoid unwanted consequences.
Your Death Ends a Michigan Power of Attorney
Any powers of attorney that were given during your life end when you die. There have been cases where the agent was unaware of the death and continued to act in his or her capacity. These actions were considered invalid.
Passage of Time May End a Michigan Power of Attorney
The passage of time does not in and of itself revoke a Michigan Power of Attorney. However, Michigan does not currently have a law that forces a financial institution or others to accept a Power of Attorney. Some banks will reject a power of attorney after as little as two or three years have passed since it was signed. In the case of real estate, we have had title companies reject a power of attorney that was more than 6 months old. Therefore, it is important to bring copies of your powers of attorney to your financial institutions as soon as they are drafted and even introduce your named agent to the bank manager. Banks will almost always accept your newly signed power of attorney and will often help you complete the bank’s internal paperwork that will then empower your agent. Once a bank accepts your power of attorney, it normally is good forever for that institution (unless you revoke the power). Sometimes, if you rely on your agent to wait until you need him or her to use your power of attorney, the bank may take the safe route and reject your document if a number of years have passed since you first signed it.
Revocation Ends a Michigan Power of Attorney
You are allowed to revoke the power of attorney or to otherwise change it during your lifetime, as long as you are of sufficient mental capacity. This can be a relief for those who can foresee a possible change in circumstances later.
Agent’s Death Ends a Michigan Power of Attorney
If the person named in the power of attorney has passed away, there is obviously no one to fulfill that role. For this reason, you and your estate lawyer in Grand Rapids or Muskegon will likely name an alternate. In some cases, you may even be able to allow the alternate agent to choose a different person to take on the role.
Probate Court Can Order the End to a Michigan Power of Attorney
While uncommon, it is possible for a power of attorney to be ruled invalid by a judge. This would usually only happen if it could be proven that you were of insufficient mental capacity or had been unduly influenced or the victim of fraud.
Your Michigan Power of Attorney Must Serve You
Probably the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to how a power of attorney ends is that you have quite a bit of control. You are able to revoke an agent, and would likely want to do so in cases where an ex-spouse was named, or the original agent somehow became an inappropriate choice. As long as you are acting with sufficient mental capacity, and preferably with the assistance of a reputable estate planning lawyer in Grand Rapids or Muskegon, there is very little chance that a disgruntled family member would later get your decision invalidated.