Here’s some important information for you to know when considering designating a power of attorney for your estate.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person, known as your “agent,” the power to handle your finances and property.
When choosing your agent, you should consider the individual’s trustworthiness, his or her ability to handle finances, and their geographic proximity and availability. Your agent will have access to your money and property and, therefore, you want to be sure you are choosing the best individual to act as your agent.
You may also appoint more than one agent or, instead, choose a primary agent and one or more alternates.
It is up to you how much power you wish to delegate to your agent. The powers delegated can include the power to deal with money and property.
Such powers might include the power to pay bills, receive income, deposit and withdraw from bank accounts and brokerage accounts, buy and sell investments, buy and sell real estate, borrow money, give mortgages, sign tax returns, open and close accounts, and other steps to invest and manage wealth.
Powers of attorney usually become effective immediately. However, some individuals only want their power of attorney to become effective upon the happening of some future event, like if they become incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions.
Even if you choose to have your power of attorney effective immediately, you still retain all of your own power and authority to deal with your finances and property.
A power of attorney can be revoked by you at any time, as long as you are mentally competent to do so.
When considering designating a Power of Attorney, you should discuss the particulars of your own situation with a trusted attorney to devise an estate plan that works for you.