Understanding your Power of Attorney

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When considering whether you should, or should not, grant a power of attorney, try asking yourself – “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How?”

Who? Who do you trust to make decisions when you cannot? Who is the most reliable, responsible and honest person you know? Who will put your wishes and best interests ahead of all else? Who can work together to make decisions? Who is the back up? Who breaks a tie?

What? What are you giving permission to do? All money transactions except write a will, or only specific accounts or specific tasks? What are your future care wishes and plans? What are your future care plans and wishes?

Where? Where will you keep your original POA documents? Where are the copies? Where are secondary POAs such as bank specific documents?

When? When can your attorney make decisions on your behalf? Immediately? At some future date? When is the POA triggered to let your attorney make decisions? When does the attorney need to consults others?

Why? Why did you choose each named attorney? Why did you exclude other close family members? Why are you granting a POA now?

How? How do you expect your attorney to conduct themselves? Do they need to consult or report to anyone? Do they need to continue certain traditions or donations? Are there any restrictions on what they can or cannot do?