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Considerations when choosing an agent for your power of attorney

A power of attorney gives authorization to someone of your choosing to represent you if you are incapable of making decisions for yourself. As we get older, we may succumb to conditions that limit our ability to determine what is in our best interest.

What to look for in an agent

Because this agent will have complete control of the areas you outline, you must choose carefully. There are many things to take into consideration so that you can select the best person to represent you:

  • Reliability: The agent you choose will need to make crucial decisions for you, which means you need to be able to count on them. They may need to schedule appointments or meet with care providers. Someone who is not able to keep track of these arrangements would not be a suitable candidate.
  • Integrity: Is the person you're considering someone with strong moral principles? They need to be a person you can trust completely to act in your best interest. That is why integrity is so important when selecting an agent. You don't want them to act with their benefits in mind.
  • Longevity: Choosing someone similar in age to yourself, such as a spouse, may be tempting, but selecting an agent that is younger is often the better choice. They are more likely to be able to fulfill their duties outlined in a power of attorney when required.

Why you should choose sooner than later

It may seem like a hassle to have to select someone to be your agent for a power of attorney. There may even be multiple family members or friends who want to help, and you don't want to have to choose between them. Unfortunately, waiting is not a good option. The AARP points out that not having chosen an agent could cause many issues for family members trying to take care of you. They may not be able to get you proper medical attention because they are not legally authorized to act on your behalf. Don't put off deciding who would be the best person to represent you, but make sure to put in plenty of consideration beforehand.

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