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Selecting your power of attorney

Selecting a power of attorney (POA) is one of the most personal and important decisions you will make. This decision should be made very thoughtfully and with extreme care. Key factors in the process of choosing someone should include trust, competency and an overall understanding that this person will be acting in your best interests (not their own). It is okay to choose someone whose opinions differ from yours so long as they understand that they are not acting on behalf of their own life, they are acting on behalf of yours. The phrase "putting yourself in someone else's shoes," directly applies here.

Decide which type of power of attorney is best for you

After selecting who you want to take on this responsibility, it will be in your best interest to consult an attorney. There are various types of power of attorneys and your attorney will be able to aide you through the process and ensure that you are making the best decisions according to your specific circumstances (i.e. financial position and healthcare status).

Downloading a form on the internet and taking it to a notary for authentication, although possible, could leave potential holes in your agreement and this is one area that you want to make sure there is no room for question.

Other things to consider

  • Creating a last will and testament is also very valuable when naming a POA. Keep in mind these things can always be changed or modified as life moves on.
  • If you get divorced and your spouse is listed as your POA, the divorce will not automatically dissolve the POA agreement.
  • Choosing an alternative POA is recommended. In case you find yourself in a situation where your first choice is not available, your alternative will be able to step in and help make decisions on your behalf.

You are never too young to begin thinking about selecting your power of attorney or creating a will. Life is unpredictable and almost impossible to plan for, so take control where you can and get prepared.

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