No one likes thinking about their own or their loved one’s potential incapacity. Unfortunately, many of us will likely find ourselves in need of a financial agent, or someone to step into our shoes and act on our behalf for all financial matters. Who knows when the day will come that I am struck by another motorist and end up in the Shepherd Center, alive but unable to handle my own affairs. One day I may be one of the over 5.7 million Americans who are living with dementia. At some point in the disease progression, it is necessary for someone else to handle my finances. This is a real possibility.
When thinking about planning for a potential incapacity, the Power of Attorney for Finances always comes up. Here are the last two of five things to know about the Power of Attorney in Georgia:
3. Banks may request their own POA forms.
Banks are still refusing to accept the new POA document. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act gave us more authority to compel banks to accept POAs, and it has worked, some. Banks, however, are leery of fraud and take every measure possible to protect themselves and their account holders. Unfortunately, this protection has been a barrier for many families caring for an incapacitated loved one. We still recommend that, when possible, you preemptively contact each of your financial institutions and complete their Power of Attorney form in addition to having a General Durable Power of Attorney form. This may be overdoing it, but this proactive step can save your loved ones.
4. The Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration do not recognize POAs.
Many families are surprised and frustrated to learn that their POAs mean nothing to the Social Security Administration or the Veterans Administration. SSA requires that any potential agents apply to become a Representative Payee. You can learn more about the “rep payee” program here https://www.ssa.gov/payee/. The VA likewise has its own process for selecting financial agents, and they also do not accept any POAs. In the VA system, if a veteran is incapable of managing his or her finances, the VA will call for the appointment of a fiduciary. https://benefits.va.gov/fiduciary/. The appointment of a VA-Approved Fiduciary often delays benefits as the VA investigates the potential fiduciaries.
5. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a resource for financial agents.
Many financial agents find the role of financial caregiving to be overwhelming and confusing. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created easy-to-understand tools to help caregivers manage a loved one’s money: Managing Someone Else’s Money guides. They has created a Georgia-specific guide.
Planning for incapacity is an important part of estate planning. If you are ready to create a complete estate plan or need to review your existing plan, please contact us to arrange your consultation. We are available by phone and through our website.
Call us at 678.324-8511;
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