Power of Attorney: How to Choose

Choosing who should be your agent, or have power of attorney is an important decision. You are choosing a person to make legal decisions on your behalf. You want to think about this decision, talk with the individuals, and not choose emotionally, but choose the person who will honor your wishes.

There are different types of powers of attorney. A conventional power of attorney begins when you sign the documentation and continues until you become mentally incapacitated.

A durable power of attorney begins when you sign it, but is in effect until you cancel it.

A springing power of attorney begins with a specified event.

The American Bar states:

1. Think carefully about the person you may choose to have your power of attorney.

The person who has power of attorney in your life will have the authority to make decisions on your behalf. You want someone who will carry out your wishes. You also want someone who will be able to handle the possible conflict if others do not agree with your decisions.

The bottom line is choose someone you trust with your life and with your money.

2. Think about what guidance you want to give your power of attorney in making decisions such as health care and talk about it.

Spend some time researching the decisions your agent will need to make. You don't have to give specific treatments, but you do need to let them know your wishes. When you fill out a Living Will there are specific questions for you to think about and discuss with your agent who will have power of attorney.

You also need to research and discuss decisions about your money and resources. If you are unable to make those decisions, what do you want done? Who do you want involved?

Have more questions about a power of attorney? Please contact our Torrance estate planning firm and let us have that discussion with you.

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