How to Select the Right Agent for Your Power of Attorney
When creating a power of attorney, the biggest decision you have to make is who your agent will be. The power of attorney authorizes your agent to act on your behalf should you become incapable of doing so. These actions can range from paying bills, to managing investments, to making decisions on your health care – all depending on how much power you give your agent.
There are two kinds of powers of attorney:
- A non-durable power of attorney is typically made to allow your agent to complete a single transaction. In addition, this type of power of attorney ceases if you lose mental capacity.
- A durable power of attorney stays in effect if you lose mental capacity or become unable to manage your affairs.
Either of these powers of attorney can be tailored to fit your own needs, giving your agent either broad authority or very limited authority.
Since the agent in your power of attorney will potentially be handling legal, financial or health affairs, you’ll want to choose someone with experience – but also someone you trust completely. It is best to choose someone who demonstrates these qualities:
- Trustworthy and fair-minded
- Understands the responsibility and their duties while acting as power of attorney
- Knows and understands your wishes and values
- Is loyal to you and your wishes
Setting up a second agent in your power of attorney protects your affairs should the first agent pass away, refuse to decide or refuse to accept the power. By doing so, you’re protecting your assets and affairs and making sure you know and trust who has the ability to act on your behalf. Some people choose to create a power of attorney with different agents handling separate areas of responsibility. For example, one agent would handle any medical decisions while another would handle your financial affairs.
Creating a power of attorney is a powerful tool and needs to be carefully considered and executed. At Dan Burke, Attorney at Law, we are here to help walk you through the important process of creating a power of attorney.