Power of Attorney and What it MeansSimply 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 ChoiceThe 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