Tips for Choosing a Power of Attorney
Designating an attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney (DPOA) is one of the most important estate planning decisions you can make. Because your attorney-in-fact will have control over your financial assets, it is imperative you choose someone you can trust.
Here is what to consider when choosing your attorney-in-fact:
Age and capacity: Generally, Florida allows a competent adult over 18 to act as an attorney-in-fact or agent. “Competent” means that they understand their rights and obligations as your agent and agree to the terms.
Ability and willingness to help: Married people often designate their spouse as their agent, since a spouse is usually the person best able and most willing to help. If you are unmarried or your spouse is unable, friends, family members or even professional agents may fit the bill. Consider appointing an agent with relevant financial or medical advocacy experience.
Trustworthiness: Because your attorney-in-fact will have significant control over your finances, their trustworthiness is crucial.
Geographical location: While you are entitled to appoint an agent living in another location, it is often wise to choose someone nearby. When an emergency occurs, certain tasks, like checking your mail, visiting the bank and tending to your property is easier to manage by an attorney-in-fact in close proximity to you.
Successor agents: Don’t forget to consider successor agents. If your first-choice dies, becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unavailable, you should have a backup plan.
Nominating the right attorney-in-fact goes a long way toward guaranteeing your peace of mind. The tips above will help you make savvy choices.
If you do not have a DPOA and would like one prepared, reach out to the trusted estate planning attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law.