“Top Considerations when choosing an agent for a Power of Attorney” by Attorney Nicole Livingston
An power of attorney lawyer can help you to make a legally valid power of attorney in case you become incapacitated and need someone to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is a powerful legal tool that you can use to protect yourself and your assets in case the worst happens. You want to make a POA while you are still healthy and you want to understand exactly how a power of attorney works so you can structure your POA properly to provide the expected protections.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help. Our legal team offers comprehensive assistance with all aspects of incapacity planning, including making a power of attorney that is legally valid and that works the way its creator wants. To find out more about how an Annapolis power of attorney lawyer can assist you in planning ahead for injury or illness, give us a call today.
Creating a Power of Attorney
When you create a power of attorney as part of an incapacity plan, you want a general durable power of attorney. You want this because a general power of attorney will give an agent of your choosing broad authority to take action on your behalf. You want your agent to make a wide variety of decisions for you and to act on your behalf and have authority under the law, so you need to make it a general power of attorney. You also want it to remain in effect after you are incapacitated, which is why you need to make it durable.
You may also want to create a healthcare power of attorney and name a healthcare agent. A healthcare agent, who could be the same person as your agent for your general power of attorney or who could be someone different, will be given the authority to make healthcare choices for you.
When you create a general durable power of attorney and/or when you create a healthcare power of attorney, one of the most important things you will do is name a person to act as your agent or an attorney in fact.
The agent is given a lot of responsibility. They have extensive authority to take action for you, including selling assets and entering you into contracts, in most cases. If you have named a healthcare agent, the person you chose literally will be making life and death decisions for you. You obviously need to choose the right person who can handle all of this responsibility and who can you trust absolutely.
An power of attorney lawyer can help you to choose an agent by providing you with guidance on what exactly an agent will be given authority to do, based on the grant of authority you create when you make your power of attorney. When you know what role the agent will play, you will be better able to select a person who you feel confident can do what you would expect.
Your attorney can also explain what legal obligations the agent has under the law when you name someone as your attorney in fact in your power of attorney document. An agent has a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty under the law. The agent has to act on your behalf and in your best interests; he is not allowed to act to enrich himself at your expense. This is a lot of responsibility to put on someone, and you can make a decision on who you think would be willing and able to accept the role.
An power of attorney lawyer at Sinclair Prosser Gasior can assist you with all aspects of creating a power of attorney. Our legal team will help you to draft a legally valid document and to name the right person as your agent who will be your advocate and speak for you when you cannot protect your own interests.
You should talk with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you do not already have a power of attorney in place because, without one, a sickness or injury that leaves you unable to act on your own could put both you and your family members into a very difficult position. Your family members could be forced to go to court to have a guardian named and that person may not be the person you would have preferred.
To find out more about how a power of attorney works and how we can help you, give us a call at 410-573-4818 or contact us online today. You can also join us for a free seminar.
- Can a Beneficiary Be the Trustee of an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust? - May 9, 2023
- What is a Letter of Instruction? - November 15, 2022
- Power of Attorney Basics - October 7, 2022