Choosing a Power of Attorney
Get tips and suggestions on who to choose as your power of attorney and what they do
Who should I choose as my power of attorney?
Choose someone that you trust the most and has the skills to manage your money and property to be your agent or attorney in fact. It should be someone that you know would manage your assets in the manner you would want and would have the time and the knowledge to do it well. Additionally, it is important to consider who you should NOT appoint as your agent. For example, your oldest child might be the usual choice due to family tradition but if he/she has addiction and/or mental health issues, that child would not be a good choice. It is important when choosing someone for this important role that you chose objectively and not be ruled by sentimentality or a desire to please a particular person.
Your power of attorney must be 18 or over (check your state’s requirements) and legally competent.
Do I need an alternate power of attorney?
While it’s not required to name an alternate agent, you should name an alternate power of attorney in case your first choice becomes unavailable.
Can you change who you name as your power of attorney?
Yes. If your power of attorney needs to change, simply fill out a power of attorney form, have it executed, save it and share it. This most recent power of attorney executed is legally held valid, provided you had capacity when you completed it. Revoke your previous power of attorney in writing by telling your agent, your alternate, your attorney, or your lawyer that you are revoking it; or by doing anything that clearly shows you no longer intend the previous power of attorney to have effect.
How often should I change my power of attorney?
Review your power of attorney regularly. We at Gentreo recommend once per year to make sure the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your agents and alternates are current, and that your agent and alternates are still willing to serve.
Questions You Should Be Asking Your Potential Agent or Attorney In Fact
Asking your loved ones to make legal and financial decisions is hard and you should make sure that you both understand what’s involved in acting as an agent.
Having an honest and open discussion will help you determine if your loved one is the right person for the job.
Here are some questions to get you started:
Can the person you are choosing handle making these decisions?
Would the person be capable of understanding the legal and financial decisions that they would be asked to make?
Does the person understand your attitude towards money?
Will the person listen to and enact your wishes?
Can the person act on your behalf even if family or friends disagree?
Can the person make the decisions you want and not necessarily what they might want?