Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Power of Attorney AgentThe decision to assign power of attorney (POA) to another person is a serious decision that deserves serious consideration. It can also provide a great deal of security and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Assigning someone to be your POA agent means you are giving them the power to handle your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to handle your own affairs.

You can allow your agent a great deal of responsibility to handle your financial affairs. You can give your POA the authority to do the following things:

  •  Handle your investments, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and property
  •  Claim, sell, or transfer property on your behalf
  •  Handle taxes and small business operations
  •  Pay your day-to-day expenses
  •  Handle mortgage payments, retirement funds, and insurance
  •  Deal with government benefits, interest payments, and bank transactions on your behalf
  •  Hire legal counsel to represent you
  • One that is missed by many non-estate planning and non-elder law attorneys is the power to deal with long-term care situations.  Restructuring assets and allowing your POA to handle asset protection in the event you need nursing home care or other long-term care is critical.

Choosing the right person to be your POA attorney is essential. Your agent must be someone with integrity, who you trust to look after your best interests. Try to avoid people who have had serious financial issues in the past, or have personal issues with any of your family members. Consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you trust this person (both their integrity and competency) to manage your financial and legal affairs?
  • Is this person financially responsible? Take a look at how well they manage their own affairs.
  • Will there be a fee involved (generally only pertains to asking a professional to serve as your agent)?
  • Will they agree to act as your agent? This may seem obvious, but just because they seem like the perfect choice to you doesn’t necessarily mean they want to do it. Make sure you discuss this with your prospect before officially appointing anyone to act as agent.

Glenn Matecun proudly serves the citizens of Michigan in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and special needs law. Visit our website to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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