When coming up with your estate plan in Missouri, you may want to appoint an attorney-in-fact. An Attorney-in-Fact is someone you trust and depend upon to represent you and your interests when you become incapacitated or cannot do so yourself.
Understanding an attorney-in-fact and their duties
Contrary to what their name suggests, an attorney-in-fact is not necessarily a lawyer. They can be any trusted and competent person you appoint to take care of your affairs in the event that you become unable to do so yourself due to illness, incapacity or other reasons. Your attorney-in-fact will possess certain powers — such as signing estate planning documents on your behalf and dealing with financial matters detailed in a power of attorney document.
Types of attorney-in-fact
When appointing an attorney-in-fact, you’ll use a document known as “the power of attorney” to determine what duties and responsibilities the attorney-in-fact will have. There are a few different types of power of attorney documents, each with its own purpose.
The first is the general power of attorney. This document authorizes your attorney-in-fact to handle all legal and financial matters related to your estate. In other words, you are giving them the power to not only sign official documents but also make decisions related to your assets and investments.
The second type of power of attorney is the limited power of attorney. This document only gives your attorney-in-fact authority over specific matters, such as a home purchase or investment transaction.
Selection criteria for an attorney-in-fact
For starters, make sure you choose someone who is reliable and honest. They should also be organized, with the ability to handle important documents carefully and accurately. It’s also a good idea to select an attorney-in-fact who knows about estate planning laws and regulations in Missouri so they can carry out their duties properly.
If your attorney-in-fact will make business or investment decisions on your behalf, you will need them to know a thing or two about your business or investments. However, this is not a legal requirement, and ultimately you should choose someone you trust to represent you and your interests in the best way possible.
Ultimately, selecting an attorney-in-fact is a very important decision that you should take your time to think about. If you do it right, you can rest assured that your loved ones and interest will be in safe hands in the event you become unable to manage them yourself.