Tips for Choosing the Right Power of Attorney
While a will is always an essential part of your estate planning, designating a power of attorney in case you are incapacitated is also extremely important.
Your power-of-attorney designee is someone whom you trust to manage your financial affairs or essential health decisions on your behalf if you are unable or unwilling to act on your own. The situation can result from disease, injury, or advanced age that leaves you temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions on your own. You may also simply want someone to act for you when you are out of the country, physically or mentally weak, but not disabled. This type of document is know as a Durable Power of Attorney.
Choosing Your Power of Attorney
While no one likes to think of becoming so incapable as to require another to act on our behalf, this can happen to many of us at some point. The position of power of attorney bestows significant authority and responsibility on another to make financial or health decisions that would be in best interests you and your family.
The individual should be someone whom you would trust explicitly with these responsibilities. The designee can be a family member, a close friend or associate, or even a lawyer.
Factors to Consider
Can I trust this person fully? You want a power of attorney to make decisions that would be most like ones you would make if capable. You need to ensure that the person does not become self-serving with financial decisions and would be compassionate about your comfort and safety.
If possible, you should provide as much guidance as possible before you are unable to do so. Providing specific written or oral instructions that address various scenarios and objectives can help ease your mind and likely make your power of attorney designee more comfortable.
Capability and Experience
In New Jersey, your representative must be willing to represent you, be of sound mind, and at least 18-years old.
You should choose a power of attorney also based upon their knowledge, experience, and maturity. While it is a good idea to select someone who is younger and likely to outlive you, you should always choose one whose abilities you respect.
Alternatively, you may designate another person who is compassionate and understands healthcare and medical procedures to become your power of attorney for your medical decisions.
Your power of attorney designee should reside somewhere nearby to respond to immediate situations that may require a prompt decision. Proximity can be critical in case a medical emergency arises that requires a timely and informed decision.
Capable Decision Maker and Communicator
Frequently, second-guessing and disagreement occur even in the closest of families.
So, when your power of attorney makes decisions on your behalf, they must be capable of explaining those decisions in a thoughtful, yet firm manner. Conclusions should be supported by either your explicit intentions or their interpretation of your best interests. The individual must be ready to stand firm and articulate why each decision was made.
See New Jersey Estate Attorney, Nicholas A. Giuditta III
Located in Westfield and serving clients in Union County and the surrounding areas, the Law Firm of Nicholas Giuditta specializes in Estate Planning, Wills, Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives, Executor Guidance, and Probate Administration.
You do not want to leave your affairs to chance. To discuss all matters pertaining to your Power of Attorney designation or related subjects, contact the Giuditta Law Offices for a compassionate and understanding consultation. Appointing the right person to ensure your wishes are carried out is your best option.