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How to select someone for Power of Attorney

Choosing someone for Power of Attorney is an important decision that should be made with thought and care. This person will be authorized to make important decisions for you, in case you're unable to do so. You should select someone trustworthy, competent, and willing to take on this substantial responsibility.

In This Insight

  • Who is the best person to assign power of attorney?

  • What are potential conflicts of interest to consider when selecting a power of attorney?

  • What qualities should a person have to be trusted as a power of attorney?

  • How should a power of attorney be chosen in a complex estate?

  • Can you have more than one power of attorney?

Who is the best person to assign power of attorney?

In choosing someone for your power of attorney you should always select someone you trust and who is capable of undertaking the responsibility. This assignee will take on the vital role of making key decisions on your behalf, thus they must be dedicated and committed to your cause. You need to feel positively certain that this individual will always act with your best interests at heart, strictly upholding and respecting your wishes in every decision they make. Closely tied to trust is the need to appraise the person's ability to understand their responsibilities. Your chosen power of attorney should have a fundamental grasp of finances and property related matters. Although they are not mandated to be financial gurus, a minimal understanding in these areas will be instrumental in ensuring your assets are managed adequately and efficiently. Availability and geographical location is another determinant in this selection. Your nominee should ideally be based nearby or be willing to travel routinely to your establishment if required. This can prove to be indispensable in scenarios that demand immediate attention or when quick decisions need to be made. Assuring they are readily available when required is as important as any of the other considerations.

Choosing a power of attorney requires careful thought with the key aspects being trust, understanding of financial obligations, and their readiness to be there when needed.

What are potential conflicts of interest to consider when selecting a power of attorney?

Identifying someone to act as your Power of Attorney is a significant decision that requires thoughtful contemplation. The potential for conflicts of interest is a chief concern that should be carefully considered. One of these concerns revolves around personal or business relationships of the person that you're considering. If he or she has deep-seated personal or business connections that might be influenced by the decisions taken on your behalf, it can raise issues. If an individual stands to gain financially, for instance, they might not be able to make objective choices effectively reflecting your best interests. Shared assets is another area that could prompt a conflict of interest. In this case, the person you have in mind as your Power of Attorney might also have an invested stake in your wealth or property. A situation like this, where you're considering a business partner or possibly a spouse, can be tricky to navigate. They might unconsciously or consciously lean towards making decisions that disproportionately favor their interests over yours. Family dynamics also play a crucial role when considering potential conflicts of interest. If you opt for a close relative such as a sibling or a child to serve as your Power of Attorney, it can potentially brew discontent among other family members. The chosen individual could be viewed as biased, failing to act in your best interest, and triggering family disputes or even legal battles. It is crucial to understand how your family's unique dynamics might influence the person who will eventually act on your behalf.

Consider potential conflicts of interest when choosing a Power of Attorney, such as those arising from personal, professional relationships, shared assets, or family dynamics.

What qualities should a person have to be trusted as a power of attorney?

Assigning Power of Attorney (POA) is an important legal decision that grants another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf, especially when you're unable to do so. It's crucial to choose someone trustworthy and competent. Here are some attributes to consider when deciding whom to grant POA:

Trustworthiness: This is the most critical attribute. You should trust this person implicitly, as they will have the authority to make decisions on your behalf, which might include financial, medical, or other important matters.

Understanding and Respect for Your Wishes: The person should understand your desires, values, and preferences and be committed to acting in your best interest and in accordance with your explicit instructions.

Reliability: The person must be reliable and willing to take on this responsibility. They should be available when needed and act promptly on your behalf.

Financial Responsibility: If the POA involves handling your financial affairs, the agent should have a good track record of managing their finances and not have a history of debt, bankruptcy, or financial mismanagement.

Decision-making Skills: They should be capable of making sound decisions, especially under pressure or in emergency situations.

Familiarity with Your Affairs: Ideally, the person should be familiar with your personal, financial, and medical circumstances, so there's no steep learning curve when they need to act on your behalf.

Location: Consider the proximity of this person to you. If they live close by, they can act quickly in emergencies. However, with digital tools, even someone farther away might be able to manage financial or other matters effectively.

Age and Health: It's crucial that the person is in good health and, ideally, younger than you. This ensures that they'll be able to act on your behalf if the need arises later in life.

Good Communication Skills: They should be able to communicate effectively with other family members, doctors, bankers, and anyone else involved in your affairs.

Emotional Stability: Making decisions on someone else's behalf can be challenging and emotionally taxing. Ensure that the person is emotionally stable and can handle stressful situations.

Willingness: Last but not least, the person should be willing to take on this responsibility. It's essential to have a detailed conversation with them to ensure they understand the implications and duties associated with the role.

It's also advisable to consult with a lawyer when drafting a Power of Attorney to ensure that all legal provisions are met, and your interests are adequately protected. Some people also choose to appoint more than one person or a professional (like an attorney) to ensure checks and balances.

Can you have more than one power of attorney?

Having multiple powers of attorney (POAs) can be beneficial, especially when navigating complex financial landscapes. When you possess a diverse range of assets or intricate financial matters, appointing different POAs to manage distinct sectors of your affairs can be strategic. For example, one individual might be responsible for healthcare decisions, while another focuses on financial transactions.

Another consideration is the designation of co-agents under a single POA. In such arrangements, several individuals are chosen who can either operate independently or be required to make joint decisions, based on your specifications. This framework can instill a system of checks and balances, ensuring that the actions taken are in alignment with your best interests.

While there are advantages to having multiple POAs, it's crucial to delineate roles and responsibilities clearly. Overlapping duties without clear boundaries might lead to potential conflicts or misunderstandings among the agents. Open communication about your intentions and expectations with all appointed representatives is paramount. Engaging a legal professional with experience in financial law can be beneficial in drafting clear and comprehensive POA documents, ensuring that your affairs are well-managed and in trustworthy hands.

Having multiple powers of attorney can be beneficial, especially when navigating complex financial landscapes.

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Final Thoughts

Entrusting someone with Power of Attorney is a profound decision that impacts significant aspects of one's life, from healthcare choices to financial management. The person chosen must not only be trustworthy and competent but should also have a keen understanding of their responsibilities and the nuances of the granter's preferences and wishes. While the flexibility of designating multiple agents exists, especially for intricate financial estates, clear communication and a distinct separation of duties are essential to ensure harmonious decision-making and uphold the granter's best interests.




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