Limits on Changing Insurance and Retirement Accounts

 Without specific language in a financial or general durable power of attorney the agent appointed under such a document cannot make any changes to the life insurance and retirement accounts of the principal.  This restriction was designed to prevent the agent from changing a carefully thought out plan.  The concern of the legislature is that the agent will change the beneficiaries under these assets to favor him or her at the expense of others.  Unfortunately the agent may need to withdraw funds for living or deal with assets in preparation for qualification for Medicaid or VA benefits.  A beneficiary of a policy or retirement plan may need to be changed if the named beneficiary is a recipient of government Medicaid or VA benefits.  The receipt of life insurance or a retirement account could disqualify a person who has been receiving government benefits.  It is possible to grant an agent limited power or broad power to deal with insurance and retirement benefits to meet the particular circumstances.  However the key question in a drafting a power of attorney is do you want to grant someone the ability to deal with insurance and retirement policies.