A “power of attorney” is a commonly used estate planning tool, which comes in different shapes and sizes. Each type of power of attorney has its own purpose and provides a specific level of authority to the agent who is named.
In Fayetteville, Arkansas, an “agent,” also referred to as “attorney-in-fact,” is the person chosen to step into your shoes and make legal decisions on your behalf in the same way that you would if you were still able to. Depending on the type of power of attorney you chose to create, there may be some limitations on who you can choose as your agent.
What do I need to consider in choosing an agent?
It is critical that when you choose an agent, you pick someone you believe is trustworthy. You should trust that this person will only act in your best interests. Remember, your agent will have complete legal authority to act on your behalf.
You should also consider whether, trustworthiness aside, the person can be trusted to successfully handle important financial or legal issues. Has this person shown himself or herself to be responsible with his or her own finances? No matter who you ultimately decide on, it is a good idea to inform them of your decision ahead of time to make sure they will agree to serve as your agent. If a conflict of interest ever arises or you become concerned about any actions your agent has taken, you can revoke the power of attorney in writing and create a new one naming someone different as the agent.
Is it possible to appoint more than one agent?
The answer is yes. You can appoint more than one agent and they will be considered “co-agents.” Co-agents are expected to serve together with equal authority. The only drawback is that, with co-agents, there is always the possibility for confusion or conflict. Conflicts or disagreements about how to handle your affairs will likely result in unnecessary delay in resolving matters, which will disrupt the handling of your affairs.
On the other hand, it is always a good idea to appoint successive agents. That way, if the initial agent is no longer able to serve, a successor will already have been chosen and can begin serving quickly. Drafting a power of attorney in Fayetteville can provide a great deal of comfort for you and your family. Choosing the proper agent is certainly an important decision. Consult with a Fayetteville, Arkansas, estate planning attorney to assist you in making the decision that is best for both you and your family.