Part of making your estate plan may mean setting up a power of attorney. Remember that dividing assets – which you may do with a will or a trust – is only part of the process. You also need to take the time to put plans in place for your future medical and financial needs, and you can do this with a power of attorney.
How it works is that you appoint someone to be your agent. If you’re incapacitated in the future and you can’t make legal or medical decisions, they are allowed to do so since you have named them in your estate plan. So what qualities should you look for when deciding who to choose? Here are a few:
First of all, remember that not everyone is going to be willing to do this. You need someone who cares about you and has your best interests in mind. But you also have to remember that these can be hard decisions to make, so you want to choose someone who is ready and willing to do so.
Additionally, you need someone who understands what you want and who has a general grasp of what will be asked of them. If you’re making a medical power of attorney, for example, they may have to work with your medical team and talk about complex treatment options. You want someone who will be comfortable doing this and intellectually capable of making the right decisions.
Finally, you want to choose someone who will be able to make those decisions, likely because they live near you and can respond in an emergency. It may also be wise to pick someone who is younger than you and in good health.
These are certainly not all of the qualities you should consider when making a power of attorney, but they can help to show you how to get started. Be sure you know what legal options you have at your disposal.