Because of the control that power of attorney can give your agent—the ability to make financial, medical, and legal decisions on your behalf—it is important to choose someone you can trust. However, if it has been some time since you made your estate plan, it might be important to consider transferring power of attorney to another agent.

Has your life changed?

For many people, power of attorney allows their spouses or children to act on their behalf. However, after a divorce or marriage, you may want to reconsider whether this person is still a good fit. If you have gotten married, do you want your new spouse to act on your behalf? If you have gotten divorced, is there another person who should act for you instead of your ex?

Has your relationship with your attorney-in-fact changed?

Power of attorney requires a lot of trust, and if your relationship with your representative has changed, it might be time for your documents to change with it. You may be unable to contact your representative or your relationship may have changed to the point where you no longer trust him or her. In either case, to protect yourself from abuses of this power you should consider transferring power of attorney to someone who has your trust today.

Is your attorney-in-fact no longer able to make decisions for you?

Power of attorney allows your representative to act when you cannot, but what if she is no longer able to play that role? If conditions like dementia have made your agent unable to make important decisions or if life-threatening illness puts her health at risk, you may want to consider transferring that power to someone who is currently able to make these important decisions.

Transferring power of attorney is an important decision when reviewing your estate plan, and you should consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to create a plan that suits your current needs and life.