Granting power of attorney is a serious matter. You need to choose someone who you trust and who only has your best interest in mind. One of the best things you can do is discuss granting power of attorney with your lawyer and name your agent (attorney-in-fact) sooner rather than later. With this in mind, there are a number of factors that come into play when deciding who you will designate as your agent. Below are three things you need to know before granting power of attorney.
What Does Granting Power of Attorney Mean?
Power of attorney is a document that authorizes an individual to make financial and/or medical decisions on behalf of another person. This is typically done when an individual is struggling to make decisions for themselves or will soon be unable to.
If you are setting up an estate plan with your attorney, talk to them about power of attorney. It is best to decide sooner rather than later to help yourself further down the road. Here are three more things to consider when granting power of attorney.
1. Choose the Right Type
There are a few types of power of attorney. Two of the main types are financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney. These are filed under separate documents but can have the same agent or two different agents authorized to make decisions.
The other types of power of attorney are durable power of attorney and springing power of attorney. The difference between these is that a durable power of attorney takes immediate effect whereas a spring power of attorney takes effect when you are incapacitated. While the latter may seem like the better option, you’ll likely need a lawyer to help prove that you are incapacitated. If you have a durable power of attorney, you can still make decisions yourself if you are able; the agent just has the ability to make decisions on your behalf as well.
2. Consult an Attorney and Read the Document
Consulting with an attorney is one of the best things you can do before granting power of attorney. You can ask questions about the different types of power of attorney and hear what your attorney recommends for your situation. Your attorney will also be able to help phrase the document as you’d like to make sure the document is airtight and no one can question your wishes.
While this may seem obvious, make sure you read over the actual document and ask your attorney any questions or concerns you may have. Make sure the wording is clear and what you intended. If your wording is unclear and vague, your agent may have the authorization to do things you did not want them to.
3. Select Someone You Trust
Unfortunately, there have been cases where people abuse having power of attorney. While you can sue them for their misconduct, it is difficult to get your money back after your agent has misused it. This is why you need to select someone you trust and who only has your best interest in mind.
You also have the option to name a second power of attorney or to have a different power of attorney for financial decisions and medical decisions. Before making any decision, consult with an attorney to learn how granting power of attorney to two individuals will affect you.
Granting power of attorney is not something to take lightly. However, by understanding the implications, consulting with an attorney, and choosing an agent you trust, you can take care of your future self.
Contact Attorney John Dries to Schedule a Consultation
Business and family law attorney John Dries has the experience and dedication to represent you. John has been representing clients in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin for 40 years. By hiring John, you can be confident that your case is in the right hands. Connect with John today and set up a consultation.