Understanding the powers of attorney in the United States is important because it prepares you to leave your estates, properties and finances to a responsible person. It also means that decisions about your health, mostly when you have been incapacitated, can be made by a responsible person who has your wishes at heart.
What Is Power of Attorney?
In the United States’ jurisdiction, people who have received powers of attorney can be able to make decisions on behalf of their clients. Therefore, if you appoint a person to have powers of attorney, he will make both financial and medical decisions on your behalf.
However, in other jurisdictions, those who have powers of attorney may have different roles. As such, it is essential to understand your jurisdiction before you transfer powers of attorney.
How Do You Appoint a Power of Attorney?
There are legal procedures that you have to follow when appointing a power of attorney. These procedures are fundamental because they give authority to the persons receiving the powers of attorney so that they can have full powers to execute the necessary decisions.
It also provides the appointed parties with the authority to transfer powers of attorney to another party if they wish so. Here are some of the procedures you need to follow when appointing a power of attorney.
Identify Possible Candidates
Identifying the candidates to appoint for a power of attorney is one of the most critical procedures. Your agent will be making decisions on your behalf, and as such, they must represent your interests effectively. The person appointed will be handling some of the most critical issues in your life, including your health and finances. There are some specific qualities you should always analyze when appointing a power of attorney:
- Ability to handle conflict
- A strong advocate for the rule of law
- A trustworthy person
- A close friend or a member of your family
Notify Your Candidates
Before appointing an individual, you need to notify them of your intention to bestow them with powers of attorney. Some people may not accept the role due to the severity of matters at hand. Informing them will help you to gauge whether someone is willing to handle complex issues or not.
Always appoint a dedicated and comfortable person to ensure they will not shirk their responsibility when the going gets tough. You also need to check whether the person is qualified to serve as an agent.
Decide on Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney will remain in effect even when you’re incapacitated. If your agent does not have durable powers of attorney, their authority ceases when you are declared incapacitated.
This is an essential factor that millions of people have been ignoring when appointing powers of attorney. It is vital to understand that durable powers of attorney operate differently in medical and financial matters.
Draft and Notarize Powers of Attorney
Draft all the powers you want to appoint to an attorney while at the same time setting limitations. You have to draft a detailed document that cannot be exploited by those concerned. You can have your lawyer involved in this process for the professional wording of your paper. You also need to notarize your document in a Public Notary Office to prevent accusations of fraud before distributing copies to the witnesses.
If you do not have sufficient knowledge to draft the powers of attorney, you can consult an elder law attorney to aid in the entire process. This is a complex process that requires experienced experts who have been in the legal sector for many years. Your attorney will also help in identifying state-specific procedures that you may not know depending on your residential state.