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Creating a legal power of attorney document is a smart move. Doing so helps ensure that your financial affairs will continue to be managed seamlessly if you are alive but are unable to manage your own finances. When it comes to naming an agent to act for you, it is important to carefully consider all of your options – and the potential implications – before making a decision.
Common choices include a spouse, an adult child, a sibling or another family member, a close friend, or a professional fiduciary. Here are five things you should consider before you make a decision about who to name in that role.
- Trust. A power of attorney is a powerful document that can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Do you completely trust the person you are considering naming? Are you confident they will honor your wishes and act in your best interest?
- Capability. Is the person you are considering naming generally organized with their own finances? Do you think they are capable of handling yours? Acting as someone else’s agent can be a big responsibility, so it’s important that whoever you name has the capacity to take on that role.
- Age and location. You may want to think twice before naming someone who is very young as your agent, as they may lack the life experience to handle things effectively. While your agent does not need to be your next-door neighbor, naming someone who is geographically distant could cause logistical issues when he or she needs to act on your behalf.
- Conflict-free. One reason people sometimes choose a professional fiduciary or another independent person is to avoid potential conflicts of interest that can arise when you name one child or another heir as your power of attorney. A situation could arise where an “interested” agent isn’t acting in your best interest.
- Family dynamics. You may also want to consider potential friction or drama within your family that could arise when you select one family member as your power of attorney over someone else.
Your estate planning attorney can help you evaluate pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about who to name as your power of attorney agent.
Our firm can prepare a broad range of powers of attorney to help ensure the proper facilitation of your personal affairs. No matter what your requirements may be, we are here for you. Contact us today to get started!