Because an estate plan can go further than simply creating a will, it is important that you and other Minnesota residents understand the various planning tools available to you. Rather than simply using your plan to determine who should receive your assets after you pass away, you could also use it to designate individuals to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated as well as to leave instructions for your care.
When it comes to putting someone in a position of power, you can utilize power of attorney documents to do so. The power of attorney agent would have the ability to make financial decisions for you and have access to your financial accounts to handle necessary obligations. Though you have the ability to appoint this person yourself while you are still sound of mind, you may worry that someone could abuse such power.
The desire to prevent someone from abusing a power of attorney role is understandable. Though you may trust the person you appoint, you certainly could never know everyone's true intentions for every situation, and you undoubtedly want to make sure your financial welfare remains undamaged.
Fortunately, as you make your power of attorney document, you can include stipulations and take steps that limit the possibility of an abuse of power. Some tips to consider include the following:
- Choosing a responsible person that you trust completely
- Having a third party oversee your agent's decisions
- Limiting the amount of power given to the agent, such as allowing the agent to pay bills and manage accounts but not allowing him or her to make beneficiary changes or to make gifts
- Appointing co-agents to distribute power
- Including a springing power, meaning that agent may only act after specific circumstances have occurred
If you are used to handling your affairs yourself, you may feel wary about appointing a power of attorney agent for many reasons. However, having this document in place could save hardships later on.
Creating the document
Before you create a power of attorney document, you may want more information on how the document works, when it goes into effect and other ways you can limit potential abuse. Fortunately, working with an estate-planning attorney could help you gain reliable information and assistance when creating your power of attorney documents.