If you can’t manage your financial affairs, you will need someone to step in and manage them for you. Who should that be?

One of the advantages of working with an experienced attorney when doing your estate planning is having the benefit of your attorney’s advice and counsel in making decisions like naming the person who should be your “agent” (person who makes decisions and takes action on your behalf) in your power of attorney.

Here are the four essential qualities your agent must have:

  • Willingness to serve as agent;
  • Time to serve (not too tied up with other commitments to help you);
  • Good judgment; and
  • Trustworthiness

Other qualities, while not essential, are often desirable:

  • Living near you, with the ability to go to your house, bank, etc.
  • Having an existing knowledge of your financial affairs
  • Knowing the people in your life who can be resources for you.

In my opinion, judgment should top the list of qualities when you choose your agent. If a person lives in another state, and would need to get up to speed about your financial affairs, that is all okay if the person makes good decisions on your behalf.

Choose the person with the best judgment – the person you trust the most – and you will be more likely to have things go well when your agent acts on your behalf.

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