How to Choose a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is someone you appoint to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf should you no longer be able to do so. Since your power of attorney potentially will be handling your legal and financial affairs, you’ll want to choose someone who either has some experience in these fields or has the necessary qualities to handle the decisions that may fall to him or her. 

Qualities of a power of attorney

A power of attorney should be a person with the following characteristics:

  • Attention to detail 
  • An understanding of his or her duties, and a commitment to taking those duties seriously
  • An understanding of finances and perhaps business
  • The ability to collaborate with attorneys, accountants, and other parties, if necessary

In addition, a power of attorney should be someone you trust, who you believe understands your values and will do his or her best to act in your best financial and legal interest.

If you have extensive business interests that the POA might become responsible for, it may help if the person you’re appointing has an understanding of your business interests as well as the finances and financial structures behind those businesses.

Finding the right person for the job

If you’re considering naming someone as your POA but aren’t sure if he or she is the right person, it might be helpful to have a conversation with the person you're considering to discuss the duties and responsibilities of the position, as well as the scope of your financial and legal affairs. This may help to determine if the person you’re considering to be your POA is the right person for the job.

To learn about the different types of power of attorney, see our article Naming a Power of Attorney.

Comments