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Powers of Attorney 101: How to Choose Your Agents
Both a Medical Power of Attorney and a Financial Power of Attorney (POAs) are essential estate planning documents, but who you choose as the agent in each is even more critical. Your agent is the person who will be entrusted to act on your behalf when the POA is invoked. We’ve all read the horror stories of someone being taken advantage of while incapacitated…and no one wants to become the next headliner on the local news! By choosing the right agent, you can gain peace of mind knowing that you will not be taken advantage of, while also ensuring that your financial, legal, and medical wishes will be carried out.
So, how do you choose the perfect person to be your agent? We’re sharing a few tips to help you choose the right agent while protecting your person, assets and estate:
Choose Your Agent Before You Need Them
The best way to ensure that you’re picking the right agent is to choose one BEFORE you need them. By making this decision when you’re of sound mind and body—without any outside distractions complicating the decision-making process—you can make a clear and well-thought-out decision as to who your agent should be.
Someone You Trust
Your agent should be someone that you can trust completely. It should be someone who you are comfortable turning over your bank account information to and someone you trust making your medical decisions when you are unable to do so.
In a Medical Power of Attorney, you want someone that will make the best decisions for you – decisions that you would make for yourself. In a Financial Power of Attorney, you want someone that will see to your bills being paid and making sure your assets are protected. In both circumstances, it’s important to choose someone that you trust fully and without question, as this person will be acting on your wishes, and taking care of your estate while you are unable to do so yourself.
Have a Backup Plan
Unfortunately, no plan is foolproof, and you should have at least one backup agent listed on both of your POAs. If your original intended agent becomes disabled, incapacitated, or unable to carry out the duties of your POA, then your backup agent would be able to take over.
If you would like to learn more about setting up your Powers of Attorney, The Law Firm of Blanche D Smith, P.C. is here to help. If you have questions, or are interested in setting up an estate plan, please contact us or complete the brief form below to send a message to our legal team.