In today’s article, we will discuss Choosing an Agent for your Power of Attorney.
By now you should know that when you get a power of attorney to authorise somebody else to execute your decisions, in case you fail to do so, you need to find the right person to whom the authority would become bestowed. As a principal, you need to find your agent or attorney-in-fact. He or she does not need to be a lawyer. The agent could be just about anyone. However, you need to be very careful when choosing an agent for your power of attorney.
The agent you would designate for your power of attorney would assume specific responsibilities and duties. Most importantly, the person should always act in your best interest. By this, it means that the agent you are appointing should still intend to follow your instructions. He or she should be ‘fiduciary.’ Thus, that person must always act with the highest possible degree of good faith on your behalf.
Your agent still has the freedom to do whatever he/she likes to do even if he/she is supposed to always make decisions for you. The law mandates the person to use your money and assets only to uphold your benefit. But he/she could freely do several inappropriate acts with regards to your money. That is why it very important to choose and appoint a person whom you fully trust. You should not name just about anyone. Before you select an agent of an attorney-in-fact for your extraordinary power of attorney, it would be best to ask yourself the following questions first.
Do you trust the person?
The best thing you should establish is to trust the person you are appointing as an agent. Unfortunately, trust is something earned over time. You have to make sure the person you choose is trustworthy.
Does the person truly understand your feelings?
He/She should know you well to understand your points of view and opinions. If you think that person understands your feelings, you could be sure he/she would follow and stick to your wishes if ever you get incapacitated.
Would the person be willing to spend the time to handle your affairs?
We are all busy. Perhaps, the person you are appointing as your attorney-in-fact could be more active than you are. It is essential that the person be able to spend much time to handle your affairs and work on your behalf. If not, you would be in trouble.
Appoint an agent or attorney-in-fact who is readily accessible or available. It is to make sure he/she would always be there in cases of emergency. The person need not be personally present to attend to your errands all the time, but at least he/she should be easily contacted through the phone.
You are entrusting your money and assets to the person. It is essential that you appoint an agent who is well skilled and knowledgeable in handling and managing finances. If he/she is not, at least he/she should be willing to seek appropriate help from the experts. Your power of attorney would give the person the authority to handle your financial affairs. Make sure you are entrusting it to a prudent and wise person.