What are the ways to put your finances in order when time comes you are unable to do so? Setting up a power of attorney (POA) is one of your options when it comes to managing your daily financial affairs and transactions under certain circumstances such as when you are undergoing medical treatment or out of the country. It refers to a legal document that allows an individual or a financial institution such as a bank to manage your finances whether you are capable or not of doing it on your own.
The following are the essential considerations that you need to think about when creating a financial power-of-attorney document:
1. The need for a POA
Do you think you need help with handling your financial affairs? There are certain situations in which powers of attorney are not needed. For instance, if you own a big estate, you may be better off preparing a revocable living trust that offers great tax benefits and fits your needs. You may want to consider having both a financial POA and a revocable living trust.
2. The person who will act as your attorney-in-fact or agent
Take time in choosing the right agent who you will trust to carry out your financial tasks with your best interest in mind. Here are some of the characteristics that you should consider when selecting your financial agent:
• Financial savvy
• Trustworthy and comfortable to work with
• Can devote enough time to perform the required financial responsibilities
• Accessible and lives near your residence so that you can easily discuss with him or her any pertinent concern about your POA
• Can commit to carry out his or her duties as an agent if you are unable to handle your finances for a long time
Once you have chosen an agent, don’t forget to discuss the tasks, including the financial duties involved.
3. The forms you will use for preparing the power-of-attorney document
Use the power-of-attorney forms available online as your model or starting point. Before you consult with a lawyer, it is best to view several POA forms and understand fully the terms specified on them. That way, you can see the various possibilities before you head over to a lawyer’s office.
There are many sources of POA forms online these days. You can download a form from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You may opt to look for a particular POA form for your state on some websites that specialize in legal documents.
If you are about to finalize your POA document, you have to consult a lawyer first. You can ask the lawyer about the form of authority that suits your needs best as a principal.
4. The parties that will receive the power-of-attorney documents
Your power of attorney must be put in writing, signed by all parties involved (including the witnesses), and duly notarized. If the terms in the POA are related to taxes, it must be filed at the state government. If the terms are related to your real estate, your POA document must be filed at the office of the local county recorder.