Choosing a power of attorney

On behalf of Bebout, Potere, Cox & Bennion, P.C. posted in wills and trusts on Friday, November 3, 2017.

Choosing the right power of attorney in Michigan is important for a number of reasons. Finding a trustworthy person and filling out the proper paperwork is essential for things to go smoothly in the event something happens and the chosen person needs to make important decisions on behalf of the principal.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the agent who is chosen to be power of attorney is responsible for financial matters, and sometimes healthcare choices, if the principal becomes incapacitated. Because of the heavy responsibility, people are cautioned to be careful when choosing who will be making decisions about their finances. As with investments and other important matters, there should never be pressure when it comes to signing a document that gives someone power of attorney. People who sometimes take advantage of the role of POA include family members, financial professionals and trustees, so feeling completely comfortable about the situation is important.

The New York Times warns that even if the right POA is chosen, there can be issues when it actually comes to taking charge of the principal’s finances. Some local, regional and national financial institutions require that their own power of attorney documents must be signed. Oftentimes, the principal is no longer competent enough to fill out legal forms, which causes a variety of challenges. Some of the reasons for this decision to use their own forms include protecting the account owner from fraud and protecting the institution’s liability.

One way around this issue includes consolidating all of the principal’s assets into one institution. Another is to fill out a power of attorney document at each institution while the principal is competent to do so. Oftentimes the help of an attorney can also convince the original POA to be accepted.