How to Choose a Power of Attorney

Senior couple budgeting 4823028Individuals can’t be too careful when it comes to selecting a person to take care of their legal and financial affairs in the event of their death or incapacitation. Keep reading for helpful information regarding how to choose a power of attorney, and rest easy knowing that the choice you’ve made is the right one.

Power of Attorney and What it Means

Simply defined, power of attorney is the authority to act in behalf of another person. When it comes to your estate planning, there are two primary power of attorney types to be aware of: “springing,” or conditional, power of attorney and “durable” power of attorney. A springing power of attorney means your chosen agent must prove you’re incapable of making decisions before he or she is authorized to act in your behalf. A durable power of attorney allows your agent to act for you immediately, without having to prove you are incapable of making your own decisions.

Making the Choice

The individual who is ultimately imbued with power of attorney over your affairs will be acting for you in both legal and financial matters. Therefore, it is best to choose someone who is well-qualified for the task. When selecting someone to act in your stead, in addition to choosing someone whom you trust and who understands your values, you should look for an individual who meets the following criteria:
  • Serious minded and understands the tasks at hand
  • Is committed to serving your best interests
  • Is attentive to details
  • Understands finances and possibly has business expertise
  • Can competently work with attorneys, accountants, etc., as needed
Additionally, if you have numerous business interests your designee may become entrusted with, you’ll want to consider selecting someone who understands those business interests and the financial matters associated with them.

Talk About It

As you choose someone to hold power of attorney, first have a conversation with the person you have in mind and talk in detail about what the responsibility entails and your legal and financial affairs. These discussions will further help you know whether you’ve picked the right individual. During these processes, be sure you also make time to have the “Talk of a Lifetime” with your loved ones. This crucial conversation can help you get reacquainted with loved ones and get to know them in a whole new way. Learn how to get the conversation started today.

Be Prepared

For more information about having the “Talk of a Lifetime” with your family members and other important individuals in your life, contact the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) today.