A Power of Attorney is an important tool that ensures someone can make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated or in other situations that may require someone else to have decision-making authority.
When preparing to assign someone to act as your attorney-in-fact, you need to understand your options and make informative decisions.
Here are 5 important questions you need to ask yourself and tips to help you make your decisions:
Do you want your attorney-in-fact to have the authority to make decisions and handle financial matters from the time the document is executed, or only after some event has occurred (i.e., you become incapacitated)? If only after a specific even has occurred, be sure this is clear in your document.
Are you better served with just one attorney-in-fact or by appointing co-attorneys-in-fact that allows the responsibilities to be shared? If you choose to have co-attorneys-in-fact, be sure they can get along and make responsible decisions together.
Do you want your Power of Attorney to be durable? If it is not durable, the POA will expire if you become incapacitated. If you want the POA to remain in effect if you become incapacitated, you should ensure that it is durable.
Do you want them to have the authority to make gifts on your behalf? If so, your POA needs to include specific authorization instructions to avoid having a court void the gifts and impose hefty estate taxes.
Do you intend for your attorney-in-fact to be able to make decisions and manage financial matters after your death? A Power of Attorney terminates upon the principal’s death so you will need to talk to an estate planning attorney about the arrangements that need to be made in regard to an Executor/Executrix for your estate.
About the Author
Christina M. Hernandez is the Director and Owner of Attorney Assisted California Centers in Orange, CA. Attorney Assisted is a leading paralegal service provider in Orange County, preparing and filing all legal documents. Also known as Legal Document Assistants, they are a more affordable alternative than going through lawyers for the same notary services. We also offer full divorce services, handling all divorce papers and guiding clients through the entire process out of court.