According to the U.S. Department of Justice, power of attorneys are a common vehicle by which people financially abuse elders. For this reason, it is essential to carefully select the right agent.
Choosing a trusted individual to act as your power of attorney agent can significantly impact your future. Understanding how to make this decision is an important step when you are making plans.
Understand the role
Before choosing your power of attorney agent, you must know the responsibilities and authority that come with this role. A power of attorney agent has the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. This may include managing finances, making healthcare decisions or handling legal matters.
Trust and reliability
The cornerstone of a power of attorney relationship is trust. You should select someone you trust implicitly to act in your best interests and follow your wishes. This person should also be reliable and responsible, as they may need to make crucial decisions on your behalf.
Open and clear communication is important when selecting a power of attorney agent. Discuss your expectations, preferences and any specific instructions with the individual you are considering. They should be willing to listen and respect your wishes, ensuring that your values are upheld.
If you are designating someone to manage your financial matters, they must possess sound financial judgment. Ensure that your chosen agent is financially responsible and capable of managing your assets wisely.
If your power of attorney agent will be responsible for healthcare decisions, make sure they are aware of your healthcare preferences, including your views on life-sustaining treatments, end-of-life care and organ donation. They must have the ability to make informed medical decisions aligned with your values.
Proximity and availability
Consider the proximity and availability of your chosen agent. They should be geographically accessible and available when needed, especially in emergency situations. Distance or unavailability could hinder their ability to act promptly on your behalf.
The selection of a power of attorney agent is not a one-time decision. You should revisit your choice periodically, particularly if circumstances or relationships change. Regularly reviewing and updating your choice ensures that it remains aligned with your wishes and needs.