As you set up your estate plan, you should also choose at least one power of attorney to handle your legal, financial and healthcare decisions if you ever become incapacitated. You can also designate someone for specific tasks, such as selling real estate, or someone who will act as a permanent representative of you for all related activities.
Your power of attorney may receive significant access to you and your assets. Therefore, it is vital that you choose the right individuals to handle these sensitive responsibilities. These are a few tips to help.
Someone you trust
The first thing you should look for is trustworthiness. Really investigate your candidates’ histories, characters and values. Choose someone you know well and can trust to follow your directions. The right candidate should also understand the responsibilities of a power of attorney and have the time and willingness to take them on. Make sure your candidate understands your wishes.
Your power of attorney should also live near you. The person handling your healthcare may need to get to you quickly during an emergency, so they should live in the area or close to the hospital you would use. In addition, many laws differ by state and community.
Your powers of attorney need to understand the regulations and processes they have accepted the responsibility. Your medical representative should understand medical processes, including testing, prognoses, procedures and whether a procedure is necessary and has a significant impact on you and your condition. You also want someone who understands your financial assets and how to manage them properly. Finally, your legal representative should have some knowledge of the laws and procedures they may confront.
The best power of attorney is someone who understands your wishes and is willing and able to protect you.