Not everybody relishes the prospect of making important medical, business or financial decisions on behalf of somebody else. This is why estate planners in Virginia should take great care when choosing a power of attorney. Furthermore, those asked to perform these duties will want to think carefully before accepting.
Powers of attorney should be selected based on their suitability for the role. Business associates or lawyers may be wise choices for durable powers of attorney as they will be asked to handle legal and financial matters. However, when a principal is incapacitated and health care decisions must be made, a family member may be a more appropriate choice.
Once a power of attorney has been appointed, their ability to handle the responsibilities involved should be reevaluated on a regular basis. Individuals who move to a remote part of the country, are struggling with problems of their own or become addicted to drugs or alcohol may no longer be able or capable of performing the duties expected of them.
Incapacity sometimes comes after a long illness that gives individuals plenty of time to prepare, but it can also strike quickly and without warning. Motor vehicle accidents, seizures and infections can leave even young and healthy people unable to tend to their financial affairs or make medical decisions. Unfortunately, the individuals they have appointed to act as their powers of attorney may not be in a position to drop everything when this happens. This is why it’s prudent to designate one or more alternative powers of attorney.
An estate planning attorney could help a client make these important decisions by explaining the level of commitment required to perform the duties involved. Legal counsel may also draft the necessary documents to ensure that those appointed to fill the role understand exactly what is expected of them.