The state of Kentucky has now taken pen to paper, legislatively speaking, to update its Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOA) twice within the past few years, once in 2018 and then again in 2020. The 2018 revision left previous powers of attorney (POAs) largely intact, though the 2020 changes may require existing POAs to be freshly examined.
Both revisions adopted portions of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (2006) drafted by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). The newly updated law is codified in Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 390 (KRS 390.010 et seq.), thus joining 26 other states that have adopted portions of the uniform law.
If you’re in or around Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and you have an existing power of attorney or are looking to create a new one, contact us at Bland & Birdwhistell, PLLC, to incorporate the latest requirements and make sure the document accomplishes what you intend it to.
The 2020 revisions basically reduced the types of POAs authorized in the state to two, and both versions are considered durable (will not expire upon the incapacitation of the principal) unless specified in the document. Both types can be executed on a statutory form created by the revised UPOA.
One POA type requires the powers of the agent named in the document to be specified. The other is a general grant of authority that automatically bestows on the agent the power to act in 11 ways detailed in the 2020 UPOA. Both can be accomplished on the new statutory form.
Historically, POAs have been divided by purpose and duration, and the distinctions still pretty much hold even with the state’s adoption of a standardized POA form with checkboxes to indicate which powers are being granted. Traditional forms of POAs include:
General Power of Attorney: This is largely a blanket grant by the principal to the agent, but before the 2018 Kentucky revisions, a general POA would expire upon the incapacitation of the principal. It now is durable unless otherwise specified.
Durable Power of Attorney: Similar to a general POA, but it does not expire upon incapacitation. All POAs in Kentucky now start out as durable.
Specific (or Limited) Power of Attorney: Specifies which powers are being granted and places boundaries on the agent.
Springing Power of Attorney: A POA that becomes effective only upon a certain event (incapacitation, for instance), or which is restricted to take effect upon a certain date.
Medical Power of Attorney: A POA that gives the agent the power to make healthcare decisions for the principal upon the principal’s incapacitation.
The 2020 UPOA revision also eliminated the 2018 requirement that two “disinterested” witnesses must sign the document. Now, the POA need only be notarized, but if the principal has assets in states that do require witnesses, it would be a good idea to employ witnessed signatures anyway.
A good portion of powers of attorney are initiated to designate someone to take care of a person’s financial and personal affairs should they become incapacitated. Other valid reasons exist to create a financial, medical, or other type POA. For instance, if you’re called to active military duty overseas and need someone to care for your finances, or if your work requires extended time overseas, you may need to designate a representative to help with your affairs at home. A specific POA could also be issued to negotiate a real estate or business transaction on your behalf.
Some people may confuse the need for a will with the need for a POA, but remember: a will is a means to distribute your assets after your death, and a POA is an instrument to help you while you’re alive, especially at moments when you’re not capable of handling events or needs yourself.
A power of attorney is often a useful instrument in estate planning, along with a will or trust. Many people put off planning for the future because it’s too tender or painful a subject sometimes. Still, you need to plan for the unexpected and try your best to create a worry-free future. That’s the reason you need to seek the counsel and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
It can never be too early to plan for the future, but it can be too late. The time to secure your future is now. Our team of attorneys at Bland & Birdwhistell, PLLC will discuss everything with you and advise you on each step. Call today for a consultation. We serve clients throughout Elizabethtown, Louisville, Radcliff, Bardstown, and Brandenburg, Kentucky.