Handing over the keys to your estate before you pass can be done through a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone—a close friend, family member, or even financial institution—to manage your affairs in the event you become unable to do so due to disability or old age. Used responsibly, this powerful estate planning tool can be used to ensure bills are paid, property is maintained, and investments are managed during delicate times.
The most important decision to make when drafting a Power of Attorney is deciding who will be your agent or the person who will act on your behalf. The person you choose must act in your best interest and owes you, as principal, a fiduciary duty—meaning they must act in good faith in the course of handling your affairs or engaging in any transaction. Your agent must engage in fair dealing and honest performance, and they owe you strict accountability. They must inform you of any actions they take as power of attorney and they must maintain records and share those records with you. Your agent may not change anything in your other estate planning documents (for example, your will, advanced directive, and medical power of attorney). It’s also important to know you can still act on your own without your agent’s control if you choose to do so.
Getting your affairs in order is important, but it does not have to cause stress. Rosenblatt Law Firm has countless experience with Power of Attorney documents, no matter the circumstances.