Even if it’s just to prepare for a certain eventuality, granting someone power of attorney is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because of this, we thought it would be important to share a few things that you should think long and hard about when you’re granting someone power of attorney.
Think About Yourself
Granting someone else power of attorney is an important matter. Before you enter into such an agreement, you should think long and hard about whether or not it’s necessary. If you judge that it is, then you should also consider the extent to which you will need someone to act on your behalf. What are you capable of doing for yourself, and what are you not capable of doing for yourself? Only after you’ve asked yourself these questions will you be able to determine the best course of action for giving another individual the power to act on your behalf.
Think About the Person Taking Power of Attorney
When you grant someone else power of attorney over yourself, you are vesting them with a great deal of power, no matter how limited the power of attorney agreement is. Before you give anyone the right to act on your behalf, make sure that you have full confidence in their ability (and desire) to keep your best interests at heart. Anyone that has shown a propensity for mishandling financial matters or generally has a track record of making poor decisions is not a good person to grant power of attorney to, even if you feel close to that person. Instead, select someone whose trustworthiness is unimpeachable, understands your interests and situation, and who will act objectively and reasonably on your behalf.
Think About the Limitations
When you grant someone general power of attorney, you are essentially allowing them to act on your behalf in all legal situations. Depending upon your circumstance, this may or may not be what you need. If that’s in excess of what you’re looking for, you can grant someone special power of attorney, which narrowly defines the capacities in which that person is able to act on your behalf. Among the various kinds of special power of attorney, there is healthcare power of attorney, which allows the person acting on your behalf to make important medical decisions for you.
Also, bear in mind that there are two forms of power of attorney: springing and durable. Springing power of attorney goes into effect when certain criteria are met (if you fall into a coma, for example), whereas durable power of attorney goes into effect upon the signing of the agreement.
Think About Your Lawyer
No matter how broad or narrow the power of attorney you’re granting is, there’s a lot to consider. That’s why it’s always advisable that such agreements be reached under the supervision of a qualified lawyer. They’ll be able to understand the particular laws in question and best advise you as to how the power of attorney should be set up. They can help to ensure that your rights are protected and that your needs are tended to.