AARP reported that of people over the age of 72, 83% of them have a power of attorney. When creating this estate document, one of the pivotal decisions is selecting an agent.
This individual takes on the important responsibility of ensuring your wishes when you are unable to make decisions on your own. There are some key factors to weigh when making this choice.
You should choose someone you trust implicitly. Your agent will have access to your financial, legal and medical matters, so honesty and reliability are paramount. Look for someone who has a proven track record of responsible decision-making and integrity.
Proximity and availability
It is essential to select an agent who is geographically accessible. If they live far away, it might be challenging for them to fulfill their duties promptly. Proximity ensures they can quickly respond to any urgent decisions or tasks that may arise.
Understanding your values and wishes
Your agent should be someone who understands and respects your values, beliefs and preferences. They should be capable of making decisions that align with your desires when you cannot express them yourself.
If your agent will be managing your finances, they should have a strong grasp of financial matters. They should also have organizational skills, attention to detail and the ability to keep meticulous records.
Effective communication is key when it comes to making decisions on your behalf. Your agent should be able to express your wishes clearly and communicate with other individuals involved in your care, such as doctors, lawyers or financial advisors.
Willingness to serve
Ensure that the person you choose is willing to take on this responsibility. Discuss the role with them beforehand to confirm they are comfortable and committed to serving as your agent.
Appointing a power of attorney agent is not a one-time decision. It is advisable to review your choice periodically to ensure it still aligns with your needs and circumstances. Life changes, and your agent should be adaptable to those changes.