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Should You Give Someone Your Power Of Attorney? Four Common Questions

You may be thinking about what would happen if you were mentally or physically incapacitated. This can happen because you are getting older, experiencing a medical condition that is chronic, or worried about an unexpected accident. The best way to prepare yourself is to designate somebody with the power of attorney. This is a legal professional, friend, or family member that you trust to make decisions for you while incapacitated. Here are 3 questions you may have about giving this power to somebody.

What Is Power of Attorney?

Giving somebody power or attorney will involve making a document prepared by your lawyer. It gives a named person power to make decisions for you regarding property and financial assets when you are unable to. The document can only be legally binding and valid if it is signed while you are mentally sound.

What Decisions Can Be Made?

Basic powers are typically limited to decisions about property and finances. Additional documents can be created for medical power, personal directives, or health directives. You can assign the same person to these documents, or assign different people as you see fit. This is common if you want a family member to be able to make financial or property decisions for you but are afraid they would be too emotional to make medical decisions that are in your best interest.

Can Changes Be Made After The Document Is Created?

If you are mentally sound, you are always able to make changes to these legal documents. In addition, it is always a good idea to regularly review these documents to make sure that you made the best decisions possible. For example, someone you designated to be in charge of your finances may no longer be the best choice anymore since they are going through a financial pitfall. It's also possible that the people that you designated may pass on or end up otherwise removed from your life, so a new person would need to be assigned to having the appropriate power.

Who Should Be Considered When You Appoint Power?

Trustworthiness should always be the first thing you consider when giving somebody power. You must be able to count on them to fulfill your wishes as you would have wanted, and not act selfish and in their best interest.

For help drafting the necessary documents for power of attorney, work with a local lawyer that specializes in this form of law. An attorney like Cormac McEnery may be able to help.