5 Steps to Get Power of Attorney: Power of attorney can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to make the right decisions if you or your loved one suddenly become incapacitated and unable to take care of your affairs. However, getting power of attorney isn’t as easy as it sounds, so following these five steps will help ensure everything goes smoothly and that you avoid legal problems in the future.
1) Get a Recommendation Letter
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you permit someone else to act on your behalf. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and need a financial adviser or attorney, a power of attorney can make it possible for that person to speak for you. The first step in getting power of attorney is getting a recommendation letter from your potential representative. A recommendation letter should include details about your relationship with that person, as well as any reason why they would be best suited for handling your affairs while you’re away. Once they have written the letter, ask them to sign it before notarizing it.
2) Gather Personal Documents
You may need to gather some personal documents to get a power of attorney, but these vary by state. For example, you may need to provide your state-issued ID card or driver’s license, your Social Security card, and proof that you are a resident of that state. Generally speaking, you’ll also have to include a copy of your will so there is no question about what powers you want to be granted in your attorney’s name. As part of gathering these documents, decide which one (or ones) will serve as a backup for any records your lawyer needs. That way if he or she loses something important during their work on your behalf, they or can get it from someone else you trust instead.
3) Choose an Agent
Choose an agent you can trust, not only with your finances but also with your other assets. You don’t want someone who will rush through your affairs or make decisions on a whim. Make sure to choose someone who knows you well and can act as a confidant when you need one most. That way, if something should happen, they’ll have enough knowledge and information to do what’s best for you and everyone else involved.
4) Create Your Will
Your will is a legal document that spells out how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. If you don’t have a will in place, your assets will be distributed based on state law, which may not match up with what you want. The process for getting power of attorney varies from state to state; see FindLaw’s guide on Getting Power of Attorney for a Child in Texas for more information on specific steps and procedures. In addition, if one parent loses legal guardianship over their child, they can still get power of attorney through their local court system.
5) Talk to Your Loved Ones
The first step to getting power of attorney is talking with your loved ones. Asking them if they trust you enough and feel like you’ll handle their affairs caringly will put them at ease. If any family members disagree with granting you power of attorney, it may be time for a family meeting and mediation. Of course, getting power of attorney doesn’t mean you can make hasty decisions on their behalf; there are limitations regarding how long after an injury or illness a person can execute that paperwork. To avoid being accused of acting in bad faith (and risking legal repercussions), wait until your loved one is stable before asking for their signature on the paperwork.