Power of Attorney and Your Estate Plan
Hi, I’m Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. I specialize in estate planning. I got a question from a client about how to become a power of attorney. Can you just essentially declare yourself to be power of attorney of someone? Or, do you have to write it down? What’s the process?
Power of attorney is a very important mechanism in estate planning because it essentially gives another person the right to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. It’s a right that you can give to someone else. Obviously it has to be somebody that you trust a lot, because you wouldn’t want to let somebody else make financial and healthcare decisions for you unless you really knew that they were going to act in your best interest. Also, you can’t simply just say it. It actually has to be written down. There’s also a lot of formalities in the law that need to be met and fulfilled in order to give that document credence and validity.
One important thing to remember about power of attorney documents is that the entity that will often be enforcing those or rejecting them, as the case may be, would be a bank or a hospital or doctor’s office or an insurance carrier. It’s not always going to be interpreted by a judge. That’s why it’s very important to make it very crystal clear, so that somebody without a law degree can actually understand what the power of attorney is intending to do and what it says and leave no doubt whatsoever as to the fact that you’re giving someone else the right to make decisions on your behalf.
If you feel like you need to make a power of attorney document