1

Create a Durable Property Power of Attorney

I highly recommend you hire an attorney to assist you with your power of attorney. This is a very powerful document, it gives the person you choose, the right to make all of your financial decisions. That means the person you choose, can write checks on your behalf, manage your accounts and sell your home and land. So, it's imperative that you make sure that you know what you are doing. When the power of attorney is created you must determine whether it should go into effect immediately, without further steps, meaning that your agent may implement it at any time, or whether it should go into effect after a medical determination, deeming you unable to control your own financial affairs. If you choose to have a medical determination, generally two physicians will have to be hired to examine you and render a written decision. This can be expensive and take time, but some individuals like the level of protection this affords.

2

Decide which financial responsibilities you will let your agent handle.

The power of attorney should designate exactly which "powers" you are comfortable allowing your agent to handle. Remember, when the time comes for someone to use your power of attorney, on your behalf, usually things are pretty bad in your life. You can no longer handle basic tasks like check writing, so you want to make sure that you are giving your agent all "powers" they may need. Certain powers dealing with the agent's ability to make gifts, should not be disregarded, without serious consideration. If you don't allow such "powers", then your agent may not be able to assist you with some forms of elder planning.

3

Select the right agent(s) to take care of your finances.

As mentioned before, this is a very powerful document, so please make sure the individual you select is very trustworthy. Access to money sometimes tempts children and other agents to do things which would have never have seemed possible. In certain situations, it's a good idea to name two people to work together.

4

File the document to make it work.

The Property Power of Attorney must be filed at the court house before using. I often don't recommend filing the document until you are ready to use it.