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Choosing your power of attorney

Thinking of how key financial or medical decisions will be made later in life can be daunting. Whether due to an incapacitating illness or injury, there may come a day where you are unable to manage your finances or make a critical healthcare decision.

When planning your estate, it is essential to also plan for your future. Powers of attorney are documents for financial or medical decisions that allow you to designate an individual to act on your behalf when you cannot. One of the most important components of establishing a power of attorney is selecting the right individual to carry out your wishes.

Understanding the responsibility of the role

A financial power of attorney gives your selected individual the authority to act on paying your bills, managing your investments and making other decisions. A medical power of attorney gives your selected individual the authority to make decisions related to your medical care or treatment, prescriptions, surgeries and more.

You establish powers of attorney while you are competent and of sound mind. This is because the wishes and instructions in your documents will go into effect in the event that you become incapacitated. Due to the possibility that you will be unable to contribute in decision-making processes, choosing the right individual is important.

Qualities to look for in your power of attorney

Many assume that their spouse, oldest child or other close family member will make such critical decisions for them. However, given the responsibility involved in this decision, you should take time to carefully consider who would best serve the role or roles, whether that is a family member, friend or even a financial professional or other third party. Some key considerations include:

  • Is the individual in good health?
  • Is the individual responsible and honest?
  • Is the individual financially savvy?
  • Is the individual located in relatively close proximity to you in Arizona?
  • Is the individual able to communicate calmly and act rationally under stress?

Above all, the individual you choose should understand that they must continually act in your best interests. Additionally, you may choose more than one person to carry out your wishes if necessary. Taking the time to thoughtfully consider your options and who would be the best choice for the role can help you prepare for the unknowns of the future.

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