A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case raised the issue of whether or not an agent under a power of attorney can change the beneficiaries of the principal’s retirement plans. Be sure that your power of attorney is accurate under the new ruling.
By: David M Frees III, Esquire
Since the recent Supreme Court ruling in Slomski, you might want to check your power of attorney with your will, trust, or estate planning lawyer to make sure that it still accurately reflects your intentions. Click here to read the Slomski case on our web site www.PaEstatePlanners.com.
First, you have to ask yourself whether or not someone should have that power. And, while your initial answer may be no, there may also be reasons why an agent should have that power. For example, if your spouse is the beneficiary of your IRA and retirement plans, it might seem like you would not want that to be changed. But, what if you became incapacitated and your spouse became very ill. He or she might want to change the beneficiary from himself or herself, to one or more of your children.
And, what if you were incapacitated and one child became very wealthy, while another, due to severe illness was unable to work. Might you want your spouse, as an agent under your POA, to be able to change the beneficiaries.
There is no right or wrong answer.
But, what we do know, is that thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Shlomski case, your power or attorney may no longer do what you wanted.
If we drafted your power of attorney, please feel free to call for an telephone consult to see if you need or want to revise it.
If our firm did not draft your power of attorney, please contact your counsel, or, schedule an appointment to review your estate plan.
There is no charge for the initial consultation, and if we are doing a will, trust, or other documents for you, we will update your power of attorney for no additional charge.
To get an appointment or phone consultation with one of our lawyers, please call and mention this code DavidFrees2010. Call Donna, Denise, or Beth for an appointment or for a pjone consultation about this important issue. 610-933-8069