Guest article by LawDepot
When choosing someone for any kind of Power of Attorney, trust is the most important factor. You need an individual who you believe can make the tough decisions you’ll need him/her to make. Trust, however, is not the only thing that you need to think about when deciding who will make your financial, medical, or estate choices.
Beyond trust, consider the following when choosing a Power of Attorney:
Try to choose someone who is young enough to become your attorney-in-fact if something happens; yet old enough to have the responsibility of making the necessary decisions. Remember, just because someone is a close relative, does not mean that s/he should represent you.
Skills and education
When choosing your attorney-in-fact, explore his/her educational background. If you want someone to make finance and business decisions on your behalf, having life experience, skills, and education in these areas will help him/her to make informed decisions. Choose the person with the abilities that match your needs.
Someone with the same beliefs, values, or morals as you will be more likely to make decisions similar to your own. Discuss your wishes with your candidate in advance to see if you are both on the same page. Someone who understands your preferences and thoughts now will be better at making choices that reflect your own beliefs when necessary.
Because your representative will need to be available to pay bills, manage business affairs, and potentially make medical decisions regarding your personal health and care, having someone nearby will benefit everyone. It’s a possibility that someone geographically close to you may also understand the existing state laws regarding business.
While family members typically perform their duties free of cost, accountants and lawyers usually require compensation. Choose an option that works well for you financially and leaves you feeling confident in your choice.
If you can’t find one person who you want to take care of everything; you do have the option of naming joint attorneys-in-fact. This may be an ideal solution if you choose a close relative who doesn’t have a lot of financial experience. You could ask your accountant or even your lawyer to become a joint attorney-in-fact to your relative in order to ensure that all of your affairs are managed properly.
Remember to tell whomever you choose that you are considering him/her as a candidate. You may find that s/he is not willing or able to act as your representative. Once you have chosen someone, and s/he has accepted, explain your decision to all those who should know. Surprises cause conflict and confusion in already emotional circumstances. It is best that everyone understands your choice so that you can answer any questions each person has. Having a conversation with your family now will help them to avoid negative feelings later on.
No matter who you choose as an attorney-in-fact on your Power of Attorney form, make sure that you have considered the six factors listed above. Do your best to decide on someone who is competent and who leaves you feeling confident in your choice. Regardless of your family and friends’ feelings, it is necessary for you to feel that someone who you know will have your best interests at heart is managing your finances, business, and health.
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