Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013
From my vantage point behind a lawyer's desk, I would keep the following in mind when it comes to nominating someone to act as your power of attorney for finance:
- use a form that says the power is transferred upon your incapacity (legal standards will vary from state to state) as opposed to transferring that power immediately. Sometimes this is not the ideal situation for an elderly person who is slowly declining and wants to off load some of the more mundane tasks in life;
- recognize that the people you are considering may have financial pressures you are unaware of -- gambling debt, job loss, maxed out credit cards, a spendthrift spouse all tend to be things folks keep quite and do not share. Really think about who it is you are appointing;
- include a back-up in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to act;
- consider friends or professionals (a CPA for example) in your life, a power of attorney need not be your blood relative;
- select someone who enjoys tasks related to balancing the checkbook, paying the taxes, etc; and
- look for a person who is diplomatic -- someone who will not set of a fire storm of emotion during an already emotional time.
This is not a complete list, but some of the important concepts that are at the front of my mind today. Remember, a blog post is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer in your state for advice specific to your situation. Visiting an attorney is not fun, but putting these thoughts on paper is taking control of the situation. And who better to do that than yourself.