Unfortunately, many people do not understand what a power of attorney is or how it will affect them until they are in a situation in which the absolutely need one. However, everyone should at least have a basic understanding of how power of attorney works and what responsibilities are held by a power of attorney. Power of Attorney refers to a legal document which gives one person the legal authority to act in financial and legal matters on behalf of someone else.
It is very important that you take great care and exercise sincere caution when selecting your power of attorney. Seeing as how they will have a great deal of power of you should you be incapacitated, it needs to be someone that you can trust with all of your finances and someone you feel comfortable with. Make sure that they wouldn't hold any motivation to steal from your or be tempted to act in any way that would not be in your best interest.
Anyone with any amount of significant financial assets, facing serious illness, or in jeopardy of losing their competence needs to establish someone they can trust as their power of attorney. It is also a good idea as you start to approach the later years of life to appoint someone as your power of attorney in case something unexpected should happen.
Again if you have a friend or family member that you can trust that also feels comfortable acting as your power of attorney, you can always ask them to act as your power of attorney. However, it is always a good idea to ask an actual attorney to act as your power of attorney. This is a good idea because it is very rare that an attorney will act outside of your best interest or do anything to harm you either financially or legally. Unlike friends and family, lawyers face a harsher sense of punishment if they act in an unethical manner as your power of attorney.
If you are considering appointing a power of attorney, you need to get a consultation with an estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to assist you in appointing your power of attorney, answer any and all questions that you have, advise you on protecting yourself, and draw up all of the necessary paperwork. You should never appoint a power of attorney without first consulting with an estate planning attorney that will guide you with your best interest in mind.