3 Tips for Preventing Financial Power of Attorney Abuse

It’s important to designate someone with power of attorney over your financial assets so that they can take care of your estate if you are incapacitated. One of the most common reasons people push off doing so is because of the fear of financial abuse. However, taking a few simple precautions will help prevent that.

Choose Your Agent Carefully

Sometimes people choose the person they give power of attorney to for the wrong reasons. Do not choose someone just because they are your oldest child or because they may feel hurt. It doesn’t have to be a relative, and it doesn’t have to be the same person who’s getting your medical power of attorney for healthcare decisions. Choose someone who you can absolutely trust.

Implement Oversight

You can stipulate that the one who is taking care of your estate must notify your other relatives of their decisions. Giving other relatives the power to oversee your agent’s decisions will go a long way to prevent abuse. Another thing you might want to consider doing is appointing two people to be co-agents at once. Both of these options significantly decrease the chances of abuse.

Implement Limitations

You don’t have to give someone absolute power over your estate. You may want to put in some limitations, such as not allowing them to alter the beneficiaries of your life insurance. You may also want to limit when they get control of your estate — make it clear what qualifies as being incapacitated.

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