An agent under a power of attorney is someone upon whom you will rely to make important decisions that will affect you and your family. Whether you are making a financial power of attorney, health care power, or granting any other type of decision-making ability to an agent, you must be absolutely sure that your agent is capable of getting the job done. Before you make any agent selection for your power of attorney, there are several questions you want to ask yourself.
Question 1. Is my agent reliable?
A good agent will not only make the decisions you want made, but will do so in a timely, reliable fashion. In many situations, people who create powers of attorney choose close family members to act as their agents. Though this is often the safest option when you are most worried about the possibly of your agent taking advantage of you, it’s not always a good decision if your family members are not reliable.
For example, if you create a durable financial power of attorney, you probably don’t want your financially irresponsible sibling serving in the position. If you don’t have any responsible people you can rely upon, you will probably best be served by hiring a professional to serve as your agent.
Question 2. Will the agent be willing and capable when the time comes?
A lot of people create durable powers of attorney that will only come into effect I should you become incapacitated. While there’s nothing wrong with these types of powers of attorney, you do need to more carefully consider your choice of agent when you make them.
For example, if you make a durable financial power of attorney that takes effect only if you are ill or seriously injured, that document may go unused for years. When the time actually comes for your agent to take over decision-making responsibilities, you must be sure that agent will be willing and capable. If the agent you chose years ago no longer has the ability to serve because of, for example, age or infirmity, this could be a serious problem.
Question 3. Will the agent need to be located nearby?
Some powers of attorney may require your agent to be located close to you. For example, a health care power of attorney might require your agent to speak to your physicians, review your medical records, and consult with your family members before making any decision. If the agent you chose is too far away from where you are located, this may prove a practical hindrance.