How do you retain control over your power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2020 | Uncategorized |

By creating a power of attorney document, you can invest someone you know and trust with the power to carry out your medical and financial wishes if you should become incapacitated. However, granting this kind of power might give you pause if you do not know the ways you can restrain whoever you designate with your power of attorney. 

As Forbes points out, some people with a power of attorney, known as agents, abuse their powers. By exercising options that restrict the power of whoever you designate as your agent, you might prevent this from happening in your situation. 

Use a springing power of attorney

A POA comes in two different varieties. With a durable power of attorney, the POA activates when you sign it. However, if you compose a springing power of attorney, you can make it so that your POA only goes into effect if you suffer incapacitation. Keep in mind that this arrangement may make it harder for your agent to assume the POA authority since your banks and other account holders will require proof of your incapacitation. 

Provide for checks and balances

You do not have to invest all authority over your finances and medical decisions in a single agent. Some people split a POA between two people when it is legally feasible to do so. They create a council of agents that have specific powers or must agree together on decisions. You might also name someone in your POA agreement to act as your guardian or conservator if the need arises in the future. 

Double check your POA document

A lot of people do not carefully read their POA documents. As a result, they might not understand what powers they are signing away to an agent. Make sure you are not one of those people by reading over your POA document. Consider different scenarios and address them in the document. For example, you could explicitly bar your agent from making any changes to your estate plans if you become incapacitated. 

End the POA with you

Your agent might try to exercise the powers of your POA even after your death. To make sure this does not happen, make sure your POA document states that when you die, the POA will terminate. This may help keep your agent from tampering with your estate after your death and make sure your will dictates what happens to your assets.