Trust is a Must When Appointing An Agent for Your Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document in which a person appoints someone else to handle some or all of their responsibilities such as paying bills, banking, selling property and entering into agreements. The "principal" is the person making the appointment. The person appointed by the principal is called the agent or "attorney-in-fact".
The agent has a legal responsibility to the principal. This means that the agent must act with faithfulness and care by exercising the powers for the benefit of the principal, using reasonable caution and prudence and keeping records and receipts.
A power of attorney gives your "agent" authority so that the agent can do almost any kind of transaction on behalf of the principal. For this reason the individual who you choose as your agent is of extreme importance. Your choice of a competent agent should be someone who is extremely honest, keeps good records and is aware of their obligations. Normally this person would be your spouse or another trusted family member or friend. Remember, your attorney in fact can pay bills, deposit checks, handle taxes, sell stocks, invest in securities and do all things that you normally would do so be very careful who you choose as your agent. You can revoke this power at any time as long as you're competent, but a power of attorney should only be put into the hands of a an extremely trusted person.
Without a power of attorney and in the event of incapacity, you may have to rely on a court appointed guardian to conduct your business. It would be necessary to apply to the Massachusetts Probate Court to have a guardian or conservator appointed to make decisions for you when you are disabled. This process is expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention that the court may appoint a total stranger to oversee your affairs. A power of attorney allows you to carry on your affairs when you are unable and is a great legal device for those forward thinking enough to get one in place.
Rob McCarthy is an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, before the military courts of the United States, before the United States Court of Military Appeals and before the federal district court of Massachusetts. Beside being an attorney, he a social media entrepreneur and strategist who served the United States as a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and as a candidate for the U.S. Congress.