One of the critical decisions you have to make when creating an estate plan is choosing your power of attorney (POA). You have to entrust someone, often known as an agent, to act on your behalf in legal, medical and financial matters when you cannot do so yourself. It goes without saying that the person you select should handle everything in your best interest consistently.
Before choosing your power of attorney, let’s discuss five things you need to consider according to our San Diego estate planning attorneys. These are characteristics that an agent should possess when making medical, financial, and legal decisions for an incapacitated person.
Consideration #1 – Someone Who’s Trustworthy
A Power of Attorney is an estate planning term you should be familiar with. When assessing someone to select as your POA, consider their values. Think about who they are as a person and determine if they’ll be able to execute their responsibilities in a trustworthy manner. Will they fold under the demands of a POA? Will they follow your best wishes? You need to ask yourself these questions when considering your options.
Your POA must be someone loyal to you who will do their job to the best of their abilities. It’s important that you see eye-to-eye on specific medical and financial matters. It’s prevalent for people to choose a loved one or family member to be their POA as these are usually individuals we share similar values with. This includes spouses, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, and best friends. Although putting together a document like this is part of our estate planning services, the ultimate decision is up to you.
Consideration #2 – Someone Who Takes Initiative
It’s not an easy job to serve as someone’s POA, however, finding a good POA should be part of your estate planning goals. It’s a challenging position to be in, and it can be an emotional rollercoaster for many people. When selecting someone, think about their people skills and if they’re assertive with their decision-making. You always want to choose an agent who’ll stand up to anyone and hold their ground (not to be confused with someone who is petty or gets stuck on the little things!).
Consideration #3 – Someone Who’s Nearby
You also ideally want to name a POA who lives relatively close by. Why? If you’re receiving care from a local hospital or medical facility, they can travel to you in an emergency. Someone who’s your POA and lives out of state is usually not the best option, although if your most trusted individual happens to be distant, it can still work just fine. While distance is taken into consideration, don’t choose someone you’re uncertain of over your “rock” just because of this factor. So long as the person is accessible they can still serve their role.
Consideration #4 – Someone Who’s Willing to Help
Your POA must be someone who deeply cares about your well-being and is willing to serve you. Remember, the responsibilities of a POA can be demanding and stress-inducing. It’s advised that you ask them about their commitment to helping you and encourage them to be honest about their answer.
Consideration #5 – Someone Who’s a Good Communicator
Communication skills are essential for anyone who’s serving as your POA. You want to select someone who can remain calm under pressure and fulfill your best wishes when dealing with healthcare providers. Furthermore, your POA shouldn’t be someone who gets easily flustered and overwhelmed.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today
Do you need an attorney to draw up the proper paperwork for a POA? The experts at Jenkins & Jenkins in San Diego can help you get started whether you’re local or located throughout California. Our legal team can guide you through the entire process and create other essential estate planning documents.
There are many things to consider when choosing a power of attorney. The good news is that we can help make everything much more straightforward. Schedule an appointment with us today, and one of our estate planning attorneys will go over all of your options with you.