When you appoint another person to make decisions for you that are legally binding, you need to use a power of attorney to establish this authority. The person you empower is referred to as an attorney-in-fact. There are many different kinds of powers that can be given to this person, and the most common ways to use such a document include giving them authority for your medical decisions or your financial choices.
However, you can decide with your lawyer what makes the most sense in terms of giving powers to your attorney-in-fact. Tailoring the POA to work for you means thinking about whether or not you have other things you’d like to be able to pass on to this agent.
You can specifically name the kinds of things you’d like this agent to be able to do, such as:
- Paying for a child’s medical expenses or college tuition
- Hiring a repairman to fix something on your property
- Handling government benefits or filing for taxes
- Exchanging, purchasing, or selling certain goods
- Giving to charities with your assets
- Handling the management of your existing insurance policies
- Accepting benefits and changing retirement plans
You can make your power of attorney document as specific or as broad as you choose. The important thing is that you have a lawyer review this document and walk you through the benefits or potential challenges of the way you’ve laid it out. This will give you clarity and the chance to update or adjust things as needed.
Not everyone can be an attorney-in-fact. This person must be classified in your state as an adult, should not be someone who is filing for or waiting approval for a bankruptcy discharge, and not the owner or employee of a nursing home where the principal (the person creating the document) is a current resident. It’s a good idea to select someone who is comfortable serving in this important role and someone who you trust with your affairs.
Have more questions about the process of creating and implementing a power of attorney? Speak with a lawyer today about your options.