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Considerations for choosing a power of attorney

There are several important elements to consider when constructing an estate plan. Not only should a proper estate plan include certain documents, but you should also be sure to designate the proper people to carry out your wishes.

In particular, you should create your powers of attorney carefully. To accomplish this, consider these factors.

The law

Understanding the requirements for a power of attorney in accordance with the law is the first step. The person you name as your agent will be acting on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions or take care of your own affairs. 

Though you may appoint someone as your agent through your power of attorney document, if the probate court determines that the person does not meet the requirements, that person will not receive authority from the court to fulfill the position. In fact, the court will make its own determination of who will act as your agent.

Qualifications

Along with the requirements of the law, there are a few additional characteristics that you may want to look for in your agent. Particularly in regard to a larger or more complex estate, it may be helpful for the agent to have some business acumen. However, you do not have to choose an individual as your agent. You may also name a corporation, agency or professional with the proper qualifications to take care of matters for you. 

Designation type

There are a few different types of power of attorney to consider. For example, you may want one person to take care of your day-to-day financial matters such as paying your medical bills and your house payment, while someone else manages your investments. You may want someone to serve as your health care representative, become temporary guardian over your minor child or play some other key role on your behalf. There are different forms for the different roles you may wish to fill through your powers of attorney.

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