Power of attorney documents can be a very important part of planning for the unexpected. These documents allow individuals to select “agents” who would have the power to make decisions for them, such as financial or health care decisions.
A common goal of power of attorney documents is to make it so, if incapacity were to strike, you would promptly have someone you trust in charge of your affairs. However, there are things that could get in the way of powers of attorney working as effectively as you might want. It can be important to be aware of these potential issues and what can be done to prevent them. Today, we’ll discuss four such problems.
Financial institutions not recognizing a power of attorney
Just because you have a power of attorney document doesn’t automatically mean your financial institutions will accept it and recognize your agent’s decision-making authority. Financial institutions differ greatly in their requirements for accepting power of attorney documents. Acceptance issues could impede your agent’s access to your finances, which could greatly complicate his or her efforts to handle your affairs.
So, you may want to carefully research your financial institutions’ requirements for accepting power of attorney documents and what you can do to help ensure they are met. Also, meeting face-to-face with representatives of your financial institutions and introducing your agents to them could help with reducing the chances of future acceptance issues.
An agent not having ready access to the right information and documents
Your agent’s ability to quickly take charge of your affairs when needed could be greatly impeded if he or she has to spend a lot of time trying to find the information and documents needed to manage these affairs.
So, planning ahead on this front can be important. It can be wise to give your agent a copy of the power of attorney document and the financial account details he or she would need to effectively serve his or her role.
Picking the wrong agent
Your agent can have a great deal of power. So, you’ll want this role to go to someone you trust to do the job right and in a way consistent with your best interests. An untrustworthy or ill-suited agent could do a lot of harm. So, it can be critical to give very careful thought to who to choose for this role.
Power of attorney document mistakes
What particular decision-making power an agent has depends on the terms of a power of attorney document. So, mistakes with such a document could lead to your agent having more power or less power than you intended.
Also, certain power of attorney document mistakes could cause the document to not meet the requirements for enforceability, which could result in it being ineffective.
Skilled lawyers can provide assistance with avoiding errors with power of attorney documents.