Who Should I Select For My Power of Attorney?

Most people know that estate planning is an important part of a long-term plan. However, there are several aspects that some people do not take advantage of, including the benefits of having powers of attorney for both their finances and health.

What are the types of powers of attorney?

There are several common types of power of attorney, and, together with an estate plan, they can protect you, your assets, and your financial obligations should you become incapacitated.

  • The first type is a general power of attorney. This approach allows the person designated, known as the "attorney in fact," to make legal or financial decisions on your behalf. A general power of attorney is not dependent upon your mental or physical state.
  • The second type is a durable power of attorney, which allows the attorney in fact to conduct business on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. This is a common choice for those who want to ensure their business can be conducted should they become unable to make their own decisions.
  • The third type is a durable power of attorney for health care, sometimes known in Michigan as an"advanced directive" or "health care proxy". This choice limits the decisions the attorney in fact can make to health care-related matters only, and only becomes valid if and only if you are unable to make health care decisions on your own behalf.

Who should I select for my power of attorney?

As important as it is to draft an estate plan, it's just as important to know what you are including in it and then passing this information on to loved ones. Granting your son or daughter your power of attorney may seem like a good idea to you; but if you don't prepare them ahead of time for their responsibilities, they may feel overwhelmed by the decisions they have to make, perhaps even fearing that they are making choices you wouldn't have made.

Look for someone who is:

  • Trustworthy;
  • Capable of understanding the duties of a power of attorney (including medical and financial processes);
  • Assertive and not afraid to stand up to other people to uphold your wishes;
  • Is articulate;
  • Lives nearby; and
  • Has a willingness to serve as a power of attorney.

Help is available

To speak to an estate planning attorney for help in creating power of attorney documents, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Estate Planning