Should You Create Instructions for Your Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows another individual (your agent) the authority to conduct business on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. This is a common choice for those individuals who want to ensure business is handled should he or she become unable to make decisions.
Once an individual creates the power of attorney and selects an individual to serve on his or her behalf, it may be necessary to create instructions for your agent.
What can your agent do?
Depending on how much authority you give your power of attorney, he or she could have the ability to manage your everyday affairs, which may include:
- Paying your bills;
- Signing your checks;
- Making deposits;
- Selling your property; and
- Anything else you give your power of attorney authority to do on your behalf.
Should you create instructions for your agent?
Yes, most estate planning attorneys would advise clients to create a list of the agent’s responsibilities, which may vary depending upon the authority you give your agent. Your agent should act in your best interest, follow these instructions, and keep receipts and records of the actions done on your behalf.
Along with a list of the agent’s responsibilities, it is also a good idea to have important documents compiled and stored in an accessible and safe place. These documents might include the following:
- A list of major assets, including real estate, stocks, insurance, financial accounts, jewelry, etc.;
- Titles and other ownership documents;
- Legally binding agreements, including contracts;
- Bank records including those which show ownership and how accounts are held;
- Lists of debts with supporting documents;
- Legal documents, including birth and marriage certificates; the power of attorney documents, wills, advanced directives, and any additional estate planning documents; and
- Contact information for close relatives, accountants, attorneys, doctors, etc.
Help is available
The estate planning attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding powers of attorney. To learn more, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.