When you get a power of attorney to authorize somebody else to execute your decisions in case you fail to do so, you need to find the right person to whom the authority would be bestowed. As a principal, you need to find your agent or attorney-in-fact. He or she does not need to be a lawyer. The agent could be just about anyone. However, you need to be very careful when choosing a Person (Donee or Agent) for your power of attorney.
The agent you would designate for your power of attorney would assume specific responsibilities and duties. Most importantly, the person should always act for your best interest. By this, it means that the agent you are appointing should always intend to follow your instructions. He or she should be ‘fiduciary.’ Thus, that person must always act with the highest possible degree of good faith on your behalf.
Your agent still has the freedom to do whatever he/she likes to do even if he/she is supposed to always make decisions for you. The law mandates the person to use your money and assets only to uphold your benefit. But he/she could freely make several inappropriate acts with regards to your money. That is why it very important to choose and appoint a person whom you fully trust. You should not appoint just about anyone. Before you choose an agent of an attorney-in-fact for your special power of attorney, it would be best to ask yourself the following questions first.
Do you trust the person?
The best thing you should establish is trust on the person you are appointing as an agent. Unfortunately, trust is something earned over time. You have to make sure the person you choose is trustworthy.
Does the person truly understand your feelings?
He/She should know you well so as to understand your own points of view and opinions. If you think that person really understands your feelings, you could be sure he/she would follow and stick to your personal wishes if ever you get incapacitated.
Would the person be willing to spend time to handle your affairs?
We are all busy. Perhaps, the person you are appointing as your attorney-in-fact could be busier than you are. It is important that the person be able to spend much time to handle your affairs and work on your behalf. If not, you would be in trouble.
Is the person easily available?
Appoint an agent or attorney-in-fact who is easily accessible or available. This is to make sure he/she would always be there in cases of emergency. The person need not be personally present to attend to your errands all the time but at least he/she should be easily contacted through the phone.
Does the person know about handling finances?
You are entrusting your money and assets to the person. It is important that you appoint an agent who is well skilled and knowledgeable in handling and managing finances. If he/she is not, at least he/she should be willing to seek appropriate help from the experts. Your power of attorney would give the person the authority to handle your financial affairs. Make sure you are entrusting it to a prudent and wise person.
Find out more about the different types of PoA.