In Michigan, part of your estate plan should include a durable power of attorney for finances or “POA”.  Your POA allows you to name someone to act in your place concerning your finances should you become unable to do so.  While you may not anticipate needing a POA for many years or at all, an unexpected serious accident could render you unable to protect your financial interest.  Given the importance of this task, deciding whom you want to fill this role is a critical decision.  Here are some considerations regarding choosing the right power of attorney advocate.

The POA’s Responsibilities

To select the right POA advocate it is important to understand the responsibilities the individual will have concerning your financial interest.  Your POA will have numerous duties and tasks such as paying your everyday expenses, managing your investment interest, preparing your tax returns and filing them on your behalf, making certain business decisions, and planning for your possible long-term care costs. 

Selecting the Right Person

As your POA will essentially take over all financial decisions in your life, you want to select an advocate who is capable of handling everything this may entail.  This person may or may not be someone in your immediate family. For instance, although you may have a spouse or an adult child who can manage routine household expenses, they may not be equipped to deal with the complexities of preparing for long-term care expenses or making business decisions.  

In addition to choosing someone with the right skill set, you also want to be sure to select someone you feel you can trust to make sound decisions which are in your best interest.  To that end, it would be best to consider how the individual manages their own finances and then decide if you believe they make good fiscal choices.

You also want to select someone who is willing to accept this responsibility.  Just because you are close or related this does not mean your chosen advocate will feel comfortable in this role.  Were you to designate them without talking to them first you run the risk that they may later refuse thereby leaving you without an advocate.

Selecting the right person to protect your financial interest is a significant decision.  By talking with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can discuss the different issues concerning your POA and make informed decisions.  We have experience assisting clients with preparing their POAs and considering potential advocates. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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