Appointing a Power of Attorney: Key Considerations

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Have you ever thought about who would manage your affairs if you were unable to? Appointing a Power of Attorney (POA) is an important step to ensure your financial decisions are managed by someone you trust, from paying bills to managing investments. This choice grants a trusted individual the legal authority to act on your behalf. Key considerations must be taken into account when selecting the right person for this significant responsibility to ensure your peace of mind and security.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants one person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to make decisions and act on behalf of another person, known as the principal. The scope of this authority can vary widely, from managing financial transactions and buying or selling property to handling business operations. POAs can be categorized into different types, such as General, which covers a broad range of actions, or Limited, which is restricted to specific duties or timeframes. A Durable POA remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated, ensuring continuous management of their affairs. This powerful tool is essential for anyone seeking to ensure their affairs are handled according to their wishes, especially in unforeseen circumstances.

Choosing Your Agent

Choosing the right agent for your POA demands thoughtful consideration. This person will have significant control over your affairs, so trustworthiness and reliability are paramount. Look for someone who not only understands your financial situation and personal values but also has the capability and willingness to act in your best interest. It’s often advisable to select someone who is not only emotionally close but also geographically accessible, as they may need to handle tasks that require their physical presence. Additionally, consider their ability to handle the responsibilities and stress that may come with managing your affairs, especially under challenging circumstances. Engaging in an open dialogue about your expectations and their willingness to serve is important in making an informed choice.

Communicating with Your Agent

Clear communication with your chosen agent is essential after appointing them in a POA. It’s important to discuss your expectations, the extent of their authority, and your personal and financial goals. This dialogue helps ensure your agent fully understands their responsibilities and your wishes. Regular check-ins can also help keep your agent informed about any changes in your situation or preferences.

Reviewing and Updating Your POA

Regularly reviewing and updating your POA is important to ensure it continues to reflect your current wishes and circumstances. Life events such as marriage, divorce, relocation, or changes in your financial situation may necessitate adjustments. Consulting with a legal professional can help you navigate the process of revoking an old POA or drafting a new one, making sure your documents remain up-to-date and aligned with your intentions.

Unique Estate Law Can Help with Your Power of Attorney

Unique Estate Law is dedicated to providing personalized guidance through the complexities of estate planning, including the careful drafting and updating of Power of Attorney documents. Contact us today to secure your future and gain peace of mind knowing your affairs are in skilled hands.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.