Powers of attorney are among the most important protective estate planning documents people draft. Even relatively young adults just over the age of 18 would benefit from having such documents in place as they help individuals secure financial and medical support when they become incapacitated.
Deciding to add powers of attorney to an estate plan is a smart move for any testator, and there will be two key considerations that people will need to integrate into their documents.
Who will serve as their attorney-in-fact?
The whole purpose of creating powers of attorney is to name an attorney-in-fact or agent who will manage someone’s affairs in the event of their incapacitation. It is therefore very important to choose the right person to take on that responsibility. A careful review of relationships with people and their behavioral traits can help someone make the right choice when naming an agent to act on their behalf.
What authority will pass to the agent?
Powers of attorney do not have to give carte blanche access to resources or total control over medical choices. The person drafting the document has the option of being as specific as they want and of limiting the authority that they designate to very specific situations.
From only allowing someone to use their power of attorney when incapacitation persists for a specific amount of time, to limiting what financial accounts they can access, there are many ways in which a testator can diminish the personal risk involved in the creation of powers of attorney.
Addressing key considerations early in the process will make it easier for someone to draft effective and enforceable estate planning documents.