When choosing a person to handle one’s financial and legal affairs in the case of their death or incapacitating illness, individuals cannot be too careful with their choices. Continue reading for helpful advice on how to pick a power of attorney so you can rest assured that the decision you made was the best one for you.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legally binding instrument that empowers another individual to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. It is a critical document that is required to safeguard your money, health, and personal choices as you age and life unfolds. You may not have considered the consequences of an accident or a personal medical emergency. It is critical to prepare for these eventualities by drafting a durable power of attorney.
Appointing an “attorney,” sometimes referred to as a “representative” or “agent,” is a significant first step toward achieving peace of mind for the future. This is accomplished via the use of a power of attorney.
In your state, province, or territory, it can be referred to as a personal directive, health care directive, representation agreement, or living will. In some instances, the term “attorney” does not imply “lawyer.” They are merely a person who has been pre-selected to act on your behalf.
Making these choices now ensures that your affairs will be managed if you become momentarily unable to control them.
Characteristics to Look For
As your power of attorney will be responsible for your medical and financial matters, you will want to pick someone with experience, sound judgment, and the necessary abilities to make such choices. Before selecting your pick, look for the following traits. This will assist you in selecting the finest candidate for the position.
Someone in the Neighborhood
Consider the location of your possible power of attorney. Are they located near you or your healthcare/homecare facility? Keep in mind that a healthcare power of attorney can be required to make an emergency trip to the hospital or care facility. As a result, selecting someone from another state may not be the greatest option. You will want to locate someone who lives in the area.
It is critical to examine a person’s character and ideals before appointing a power of attorney. Consider if this individual is capable of being trusted with such an enormous responsibility.
Are they likely to uphold the responsibilities of power of attorney? Will they abide by your instructions? You are entrusting this somebody to speak for you. As a consequence, you must choose someone who can be relied upon and trusted. After all, they will be making life-altering decisions for you when the time comes.
Someone Who Is Self-Confident
Being a power of attorney is not always straightforward, much more so when emotions run high. Consider the communication style of your power of attorney before appointing them. Are they forceful or quiet in their demeanor? Are they able to stand up to others and maintain their position under duress?
You will want to locate someone who will stand up for your preferences regardless of the pressure they face from family and friends. Additionally, the individual you choose should speak effectively and without hesitation or second-guessing their actions.
Keep in mind that your power of attorney is tasked with making healthcare or financial choices on your behalf. Therefore, you will want to choose someone familiar with medical and financial procedures such as medical insurance or financial investments. That does not mean that you must pick an accountant, family physician, or nurse as your POA.
The idea is that you will want someone skilled at asking the appropriate questions, particularly on medical testing, treatments, prognosis, and the overall worth of the medical intervention. In an ideal world, the individual you choose would be unafraid to confront proposals or treatment alternatives that contradict your desires.
Also, you want someone eager to study your disease and understand as much as possible about it. Or, if they are considering your financial decisions, they need to be educated about their responsibilities regarding finances, investments, and everything related to banks. This individual would make an excellent power of attorney.
Someone who is a Good Communicator
Consider the communication style of your potential power of attorney. Is this individual a naturally calm individual who communicates clearly and efficiently, even under duress? Or does this individual get easily agitated when situations grow hot or emotional? Is this individual capable of communicating your desires clearly and effectively to your family members, as well as to your medical team?
You want to choose someone who is an effective communicator even in stressful circumstances. This requires consideration of the individual’s speaking habits. Are they slow to get to the point, or are they often misunderstood? If this is the case, you can choose to reevaluate their selection. In difficult medical conditions, the individual you pick must be a determined and effective communicator.
Someone Willing to Serve
Keep in mind that performing the duties of a power of attorney may be difficult and time-consuming. Not everyone is equipped to carry out the necessary responsibilities. When selecting a power of attorney, speak with the individual you are contemplating.
Make sure that they believe they are capable AND willing to serve in this position. Encourage the individual to be truthful. The last thing you want is for someone to agree to serve as your power of attorney when the function would ultimately prove to be too burdensome.
If you consider appointing someone as your POA but are unsure if they are the correct person, it can be beneficial to speak with the individual and explain the position’s duties and obligations. And, also, the extent of your medical, financial and legal affairs. This can assist you in determining if the person you are considering as your POA is the best fit for the role.