Who should I name as my power of attorney?

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Powers of attorney are documents in which you name someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Selecting the person(s) to serve in such a role can be tricky due to a number of factors, but here are a few practical tips:


If your spouse is generally in good health and someone who you trust with your finances, you could assign that person power of attorney rights. You could always select a close relative as a substitute power of attorney. Military personnel often give their spouses power of attorney rights while they are away in combat. Doing so allows the spouse to handle military checks, pay bills and meet at-home living expenses


Because your power of attorney agent will conduct regular banking and other financial and legal transactions on your behalf, consider choosing someone who lives close to you. The farther away from you the agent lives, the more likely it is that she will not be able to handle your pertinent business matters in a timely fashion. Someone who lives close to you will also be familiar with the local and state laws applicable to your personal business endeavors.


Only Consider appointing co-agents if you are not comfortable giving one person all of your power of attorney rights. A drawback is that bill installments, stock portfolio changes or property tax payments might be delayed if the co-agents do not agree on how a specific transaction should be handled and when. Depending on the nature of the transaction, if the co-agents cannot agree, they might have to go to court to resolve a matter. A way around this is to appoint one agent to handle all of your financial transactions and the other agent to handle all of your health care transactions.