Some Virginia residents may hesitate to appoint an individual as an attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney out of fear of being exploited and controlled. However, there are some steps they can take to help ensure that their best interests will be looked after.
They should take the time to choose the right person for the role. In fact, this is the main way to avoid being financially exploited by an agent under a power of attorney. They should choose someone with whom they feel comfortable giving access to their finances and who they believe will act responsibly on their behalf. The person chosen should be able to seek out expert advice when needed, pay bills when necessary, maintain records of all transactions, and be honest when managing the principal’s assets.
Agents should not be chosen based on whether they are a relative or whether they may feel disappointed or affronted if they are not chosen. It is also not wise to appoint individuals who are experiencing difficulties with money themselves, as the stress of being responsible for someone else’s financial welfare may be too much to handle.
No two powers of attorney are exactly alike, and individuals should make sure that the document they complete is tailored specifically to their needs and preferences. They have the options of granting the limited power, unlimited power or no power for gifting. Individuals can also use the document to transfer control of the management of their business.
An estate planning attorney may provide power of attorney legal representation. The attorney may consider the circumstances of clients and may suggest certain types of powers of attorney to include in their estate plans in case the clients become unexpectedly disabled. Assistance may be provided with drafting the document and ensuring that it is properly worded.