If you own certain properties or financial possessions, you may wish to have someone make decisions on your behalf when you're away. You may also need someone to take over the decision making of your assets if you become incapacitated, or during periods when you're out of the country. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that makes it possible for you to transfer decision-making responsibilities to another person.
By drafting a Power of Attorney document, you can ensure that your estate is in good hands by specifying whom you would like to make decisions on your behalf. Here are tips you can use to prepare a watertight Power of Attorney document.
1. Consult with your loved ones
Perhaps the most important step to take when preparing this document is to consult with your loved ones. You will have to select an agent, who is the person you'll be transferring the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.
If you're choosing one of your loved ones to be you agent, make sure they're aware of their new role. Specify what parts of your estate they will be responsible for and under which circumstances they will be legally entitled to make decisions on your behalf.
2. Durable or non-durable?
You will also need to decide if the power of attorney is durable or non-durable. A durable document will remain valid even after you become unable to make decisions for yourself. For example, persons with a terminal illness may craft a durable power of attorney to enable their agent to make decisions even after they become seriously ill or pass away.
On the other hand, you can also prepare a non-durable document, which will become invalid once you're unable to make decisions for yourself.
3. Selecting the right person
Choosing your agent is another important step when preparing this legal document. You should select someone who is trustworthy to your specific wishes, yet knowledgeable enough on your estate to make the right decisions.
4. Determining what the agent can do
In most cases, you can specify the decisions that your agent can make on your behalf. You can give them full, partial, or only limited control over decisions regarding your estate. For example, the legal document can give an agent control over only specific pieces of property and not others. You may also have several agents responsible for specific portions of your estate.
When crafting a power of attorney, it is a good idea to consult with a wills and estates lawyer who can ensure that your document is watertight in a legal setting and that all agents are capable of fulfilling your wishes.