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How do you choose a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Estate Planning

Powers of attorney (POAs) are legal document used in estate planning that grants someone else the authority to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf, in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those decisions yourself.

You can choose different people as your medical and financial POA, or you can choose the same person to handle both, but you do need to choose carefully.

What qualities should you look for in a POA?

When choosing someone to be your power of attorney (POA), there are several qualities that you should look for to ensure that they will be able to handle the responsibilities effectively and in accordance with your wishes:

  • ● Trustworthiness: The person you choose as your POA will have access to your medical and financial information, and will be making decisions on your behalf. It’s important to choose someone you trust to handle this responsibility with integrity and honesty.
  • ● Responsiveness: Your POA should be available and willing to take on the responsibilities of managing your assets or medical decisions  on your behalf.
  • ● Knowledgeable: Your POA should have knowledge of financial and medical matters to be able to make informed decisions on your behalf (or capable of learning).
  • ● Good communication skills: Your POA should be able to communicate effectively with your family, healthcare providers, and financial institutions.
  • ● Willingness to act in your best interest: Your POA should be willing to act in your best interest, even if it’s not necessarily in their own best interest – nor according to the wishes of others, even family.
  • ● Organized: Your POA should be organized and able to keep accurate records of all financial transactions made on your behalf.

It’s also a good idea to discuss the responsibilities of being a POA with the person you are considering, and to have a backup or alternate agent in case they are unable or unwilling to act as your POA.

Putting together an effective estate plan can take some work, but you will find it easier once you learn more about your options.