When creating a power of attorney (POA), it is crucial to choose an individual who is trustworthy and capable of managing your affairs in your stead. Below are some considerations you should have before naming your POA agent.
The agent’s characteristics
When choosing the attorney-in-fact for your POA, your initial consideration should be whether they have the characteristics of an agent suitable to handle your affairs. These characteristics typically include the following:
- Trustworthiness and reliability: Trust is a vital element in a principal-agent relationship. It ensures that the principal is confident that the agent will act in their best interests. Accordingly, the agent must have proven reliability and integrity to match the confidence the principal has on them. A history of responsible financial management is a great proof of reliability.
- Availability and willingness: When choosing an agent, you must ensure that they are able and willing to perform the duties under the POA. It would be helpful for your chosen agent to be of a certain geographical proximity so they can act and address any issues in a timely manner. Moreover, their willingness can translate to responsiveness and accessibility.
- Skills and ability: Your POA agent should have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the required duties effectively. This includes an adequate understanding of your and medical affairs, a valuable financial insight and the ability to communicate effectively with financial institutions, legal professionals and family members.
While the existence of these characteristics in an agent does not guarantee that no problems will arise when executing your POA, it minimizes the chances of any roadblocks.
Other practical considerations
Depending on the unique facts and circumstances of your case, you can apply certain strategies to further the effectivity of your POA. These strategies include specifying certain limitations on powers, appointing multiple or successor agents and outlining the conditions under which your POA becomes effective.
Like all estate planning tools, a power of attorney involves complexities that can be overwhelming. Hence, it is usually recommended to consult with a legal professional who can guide you and ensure that your best interests remain top priority.