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Understanding power of attorney

When planning your estate, a power of attorney (POA) is an important role to assign. No one in the world can escape the reality of aging or the possibility of a serious injury or health crisis. Since that's the case, it's a very good idea to have a POA to help when you need it.

Your agent has the right to manage your financial affairs when you're unable to do so, making it easier for you to relax and focus on your health. The person is obligated to be your fiduciary, which means that he or she must take actions that are in your best financial interests and that are in line with your wishes.

Of course, there are a few kinds of powers of attorneys, but there are two that are essential. They include the springing power of attorney and the durable power of attorney. The springing POA cannot act until you are incapacitated or until a circumstance under which you've specified that he or she should take over. A durable POA is effective immediately, giving the assigned role power right away.

How should you choose your Power of Attorney?

Choose your POA carefully by thinking about who is responsible in your life. You need someone who is willing to listen and ask for help when needed. It should be someone who respects you and wants what's best for you, your heirs and your legacy.

If you don't know who to add as your POA, you can choose someone such as your attorney or another professional. Whatever you do, make sure you're clear about what you want to see happen when your POA receives his or her powers.

Source: CNN Money, "Estate planning: Power of attorney," accessed June 01, 2018

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