Tips For Powers Of Attorney

Grant more powers not less! Powers of attorney should be general and not restricted. It is important to remember that the agent that you appoint can only do what you allow them to do. So, if your power of attorney says that you only authorize Uncle Joe to sell your house at 100 S. Main Street, the only power Uncle Joe will have is to sell that house and nothing else. You never know what type of decisions will need to be made by your agent. Grant them the authority to do everything that you can do to avoid tying the agent’s hands an creating a bad outcome. Don’t tie their hands. Your agent’s job will be difficult enough already.

Appoint a backup agent! Many people name one agent in their powers of attorney. Well, what happens if that one agent appointed gets sick, dies or doesn’t want to serve? This creates a significant legal problem that could require that a lawsuit be filed by your family or friends to have a court declare that you be interdicted and that a curator be appointed to act as your agent. Always, name a successor agent to serve as your agent in the event that the first selection for agent cannot serve. This can save money, time, and emotional stress for all involved.

Execute separate powers of attorney over your person and your property! Financial powers of attorney give your agent authority to act on your behalf with regard to your property estate. Healthcare powers of attorney give your agent authority to act on your behalf regarding medical treatment, housing, and care over your person.

You should make sure that you have both kinds of powers of attorney. The powers of attorney should be separate because the agent you prefer to make each type of decision may be different. You may prefer that your brother make your medical decisions but, prefer that your sister is better suited to make financial decisions.

Also, the time when these powers of attorney are effective is important and different for each. Generally speaking, health care powers of attorney require more fluidity since a person can lose then re-gain capacity during medical treatment. Financial powers of attorney are more rigid and should not become effective until absolutely necessary to provide more protection for the person executing the document.