How to Choose Your Power of Attorney

Signing Last Will and Testament

A power of attorney is a person that is granted (under a power of attorney document) the authority by you to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Powers of attorney can be used in a variety of situations and come in different forms. You may want to discuss the right type for you with your lawyer or notary public. You may only grant a power of attorney if you have full mental capacity. Therefore, even if there doesn’t appear to be an immediate need, it’s important to grant the power of attorney in advance. Circumstances change, sometimes very suddenly, so it’s always best to be prepared.

When you’re trying to decide to who appoint as your power of attorney, here are some key points to consider:
Does this person know you well enough to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf?
Would this person do a good job in managing your finances? That is often the biggest job involved in being a power of attorney.
Do you trust this person to accept the responsibility and follow your instructions and wishes even if he/she may disagree with what you want?
Discuss your choice with your family
You may appoint more than one person
You may want to consider choosing a neutral third party such as a trust company. This may be a good option if you don’t have any family members close by.
Review your choice every one or two years

When talking to your potential power of attorney, cover the following points:
Ask that person if he/she is willing to be your attorney
Inform them of their responsibilities and where they can find key documents if the need arises, such as bank account information.
Discuss your wishes/instructions and how you want them carried out

It’s good to be prepared for anything which may come your way. Taking time to choose your power of attorney can ensure that your best interests will be considered if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.