Choosing an Agent for Power of Attorney

Choosing your agent for your Power of Attorney is a really important decision because they're going be standing in your shoes and acting as if they were you if you are incapacitated or indisposed. You might just be traveling and you need your agent to act on your behalf for a business, banking or real estate matter. In terms of legal requirements, your named agent must be over 18 years old and they must be someone that's capable of handling whatever the task is at hand. So you may want to pick your spouse first but you also may want to pick a relative, a trusted professional, or a person that you know as an alternate. Something you also always need to do is make sure there's a backup that can step in their shoes if they're incapable, unable or unwilling to do what you want or need them to do. One consideration is whether you want a single agent or multiple co-agents. When you have multiple co-agents acting together, the default under the rules is that they may act independently of one another. You can also require them to act jointly, which could have some logistical issues with it but also some nice checks and balances. That's certainly something to discuss with your attorney. Lastly, you want to make sure that whomever you're picking is given the appropriate powers that you really want to be giving them. Keep in mind the limitations you are imposing - is it limited limited in scope or limited in time or duration? Are you giving away general powers that are good for a long period of time and address everything that you need in the distant future? Could your relationship change?

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