As you begin planning your estate, you may have several concerns about your future. One notable issue for many people, especially as they move into their senior years, is who to assign power of attorney. As you’re preparing to make this vital decision, it’s essential to ask yourself some fundamental questions:
Who is likely to make the same decisions you would make on your behalf?
In many cases, you may want to assign power of attorney to your adult children. In other cases, a lifelong partner or friend may be a preferred choice. Since a power of attorney grants that person the ability to make choices and decisions on your behalf, it’s helpful to think of the person who understands your decision-making qualities and who will likely make similar ones for you.
They should be someone who will always make decisions according to your best interest in the area where you have given them legal access, like finances and medical needs. While family members are common choices, they may not always be the best choices. Use logic when making this decision, removing emotions from the equation.
Do you want the same power of attorney for medical and financial decisions?
The person best equipped to make medical decisions on your behalf might not necessarily be the person best qualified to make financial decisions on your behalf. Consider each issue separately and assign power of attorney accordingly.
Where does your power of attorney live?
Having absolute trust in the person you assign power of attorney to is vital, but if that person lives in a different area of the country, they may not be able to make time-sensitive decisions should the occasion arise. Choosing someone who is easily accessible ensures that vital decisions are made on the spot in the event that they are needed.
Does your power of attorney have the assertiveness needed to push for the decisions you need?
Sometimes, your power of attorney may need to make difficult decisions, including decisions that go against other family members’ wishes. Consider choosing an assertive individual who will have the confidence to make decisions according to your desires, standing firm when they are opposed.
Assigning a power of attorney is a critical decision. Since that person can make vital decisions on your behalf, it’s important to choose carefully. Consider who knows you well and understands how you would likely react in those same scenarios if you could make the decision yourself.