Have you considered the possibility of power of attorney abuse?

As you consider your estate plan, you may give a great deal of focus to your will and how you want your property distributed after your demise. While this document certainly has importance, you may want to remember that your estate plan can cover other important areas of your life, and by taking the time to closely consider those areas, you may have the chance to lessen the possibility of unnecessary complications.

One document that you may want to think about using is a power of attorney. This document allows you to appoint an individual to act on your behalf in the event that you cannot make financial decisions for yourself. This type of scenario could come about in the event that your mental state reaches a point of significant decline, leading to incompetency, or in the event that you become otherwise incapacitated.

Potential for abuse

While having a power of attorney agent appointed can have numerous benefits, the risk for abuse of power also exists. Unfortunately, some agents may not act in the most upstanding capacity, and as a result, they could attempt to take advantage of vulnerable people and use their power for their own financial gain. This possibility may seem like a frightening concept, but it does not have to dissuade you from appointing an agent.

Preventing abuse

As you consider your agent candidates and prepare your document, you could explore options that could help you limit the possibility of abuse taking place. Because a power of attorney is a legally binding document, your agent must act within the terms of that document. This stipulation means that you can set forth terms that limit the amount of power the agent has, the conditions under which he or she can act, or indicate that the agent must provide records of financial transactions made on your behalf to a third party.

Aside from creating a detailed power of attorney document, choosing the right agent could in itself work to prevent abuse. If you appoint someone you know to have a great sense of responsibility and feel a considerable amount of trust with, you may better ensure your chances that your agent will act in an upstanding manner. If you would like more information on power of attorney documents, terms to include and positive attributes to consider in candidates, you may wish to explore local legal resources.

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