Wills allow people to name beneficiaries to receive their most valuable property. The instructions someone leaves for the distribution of their property can influence the standard of living for their loved ones and also their final legacy.
Wills are important estate planning documents, but people need to think about more than just what happens to their property when they die. They may also need to have documents that protect them in the event of a medical emergency. Powers of attorney are crucial for protecting people who cannot manage their own affairs. Selecting the right agent or attorney-in-fact is of the utmost importance for someone’s protection in the future.
Who is an ideal agent?
Every person may have a slightly different idea about what factors make another person the best candidate for serving as their agent or attorney-in-fact. Sometimes, people worry about selecting someone who has the exact same beliefs and values as they do. While some degree of overlap is valuable, the agent won’t necessarily act of their own accord.
Instead, they should follow clear instructions provided by the testator. Therefore, someone’s personal beliefs are less important than the terms the principal included and the agent’s ability to fulfill them. The best agent is an adult who has adequate organizational skills, a deep sense of personal ethics and an ability to stay calm in the most stressful situations.
Depending on the type of power of attorney that someone drafts, their agent might handle their medical care during an emergency or take control of their financial resources. Therefore, the person needs to be someone who can follow instructions, manage complex resources and put their own interests after the best interests of the principal.
Powers of attorney typically only have authority when someone is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. The actions that they take can have a massive impact on someone’s health and their financial stability. Some people choose to name different individuals for financial and medical matters. Others may choose to appoint co-agents who mutually hold authority as a way of preventing one person from having too much control.
The selection of the right agent is crucial to someone’s piece of mind and protection. The integration of the right terms and instructions in power of attorney documents can also be invaluable. Taking the time to create necessary estate planning documents could have a major impact on someone’s protection if they experience some kind of personal emergency.