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What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2019 | Estate Planning |

As previous posts have discussed, a Rocky Mount, North Carolina resident’s estate planning should cover two questions.

The first question is what will happen to his or her property after the person dies, and the second question, just as important, is how he or she, as well as his or her property, will be managed in the person’s final years when he or she may require assistance handling such affairs.

While this blog has already talked about estate planning with respect to healthcare, a person will require separate documents in order to be certain that a trusted loved one or other individual, or even business, has the power to make financial decisions on the person’s behalf.

This is where a power of attorney comes in to play. While the name of the document may be a bit confusing, a power of attorney has little to do with professional legal representation, except that it is wise to let an experienced North Carolina attorney prepare and review this document.

Instead, the power of attorney appoints a legally authorized agent, also referred to as an attorney in fact, who gets broad authority to manage the person’s financial and business affairs. With this broad authority comes the important responsibility to manage those affairs as a fiduciary, that is, with only the best interests of the person who made the appointment in mind.

While making sure this document is in proper form and meets North Carolina’s legal requirements is obviously important, naming an attorney in fact involves a lot more than just filling out one’s paperwork correctly. It is equally important to choose an agent carefully and to make sure that he or she has the tools and knowledge to do his or her job effectively.