Understanding Power of Attorney: How to Make Sure Your Wishes are Followed
Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants a person authority to act on another person’s behalf. It is an important part of estate planning that enables individuals to protect their interests in the event of their incapacity or death.
It is important to understand the power of attorney and how it works, because it can have a significant impact on the decisions you make about your life and your estate. This article will explain what power of attorney is and what you need to consider when deciding whether to appoint someone to act on your behalf.
What is Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legal document that grants another person the right to act on your behalf. This can include making decisions about your health care, finances, investments, and other matters.
A power of attorney can be either durable or non-durable. A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated, while a non-durable power of attorney ends at the time of incapacity.
When you appoint someone to act as your attorney-in-fact, you are granting them the legal authority to make decisions for you. This can include making decisions about your investments, financial accounts, health care, and other matters.
Who Can I Appoint as My Attorney-in-Fact?
When selecting an attorney-in-fact, it is important to choose someone you trust to make decisions in your best interest. You should also make sure that the person is capable of making sound decisions and has the necessary knowledge and experience to handle your affairs.
Most people appoint a family member, such as a spouse, adult child, or sibling, to act as their attorney-in-fact. You can also appoint a friend or professional, such as an attorney or financial advisor.
Before appointing someone to act as your attorney-in-fact, it is important to discuss the decision with them and ensure that they understand their responsibilities.
What Should I Consider When Creating a Power of Attorney?
When creating a power of attorney document, there are several important factors to consider.
First, you need to decide whether you want to create a durable or non-durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated, while a non-durable power of attorney will end at the time of incapacity.
Second, you should consider the scope of the power of attorney. You can specify the types of decisions your attorney-in-fact can make and the areas in which they are authorized to act.
Third, you should decide whether you want to grant your attorney-in-fact the power to act immediately or only after you become incapacitated.
Finally, you should consider whether or not you want to reserve the right to revoke the power of attorney. This is important if you want to have control over who is making decisions on your behalf.
How Can I Make Sure My Wishes are Followed?
It is important to make sure that your wishes are followed when you create a power of attorney. You should clearly state your wishes in the document and provide instructions for your attorney-in-fact to follow.
In addition, you should discuss your wishes with your attorney-in-fact and ensure that they understand their responsibilities. This will help ensure that your attorney-in-fact is acting in your best interest.
Finally, you should review the power of attorney document periodically to make sure it reflects your wishes. This will help make sure that your attorney-in-fact is following your instructions.
Understanding the power of attorney and how it works is important for protecting your interests. By understanding what power of attorney is and what you need to consider when creating a document, you can make sure that your wishes are followed.