If there is one reason that the average person doesn’t have a power of attorney, it is probably that signing away some of their authority makes them nervous. Many people don’t like the idea of giving someone else the power and legal authority to make their medical decisions, manage their businesses or withdraw funds from their bank accounts.
It is certainly true that power of attorney documents could wind up misused in the hands of someone unethical. However, it is relatively simple for you as the person creating a power of attorney to limit its functions in a way that will prevent most abuse.
Using boilerplate documents can be a risky decision
You can find fill-in-the-blank legal documents of all sorts on the internet. Many of them are available for you to use without any cost. However, there’s a reason that people say that you get what you pay for.
When all you do is plug a few names and details into a form, you have little control over what that document does. You might not even understand what it says.
Creating your own power of attorney using specific terms offers you far more protection. While there is more cost involved up front, the end product is something that protects you and your interests without leaving you vulnerable the way that broadly-worded documents might.
You can add third-party oversight to your power of attorney
One of the ways for you to avoid abuse of the authority and access granted to someone in a power of attorney is to add in another level of oversight and protection. Requiring that a third party, such as your lawyer or another person you trust, review and sign off on all transactions and decisions made by the individual with power of attorney can help prevent someone abusing their authority.
You can carefully limit what power someone has
You don’t have to set up a complicated system where the person using the power of attorney has to have someone help them with every single decision or transaction. You can also create a document that is so specific that it only allows someone access to specific accounts and for specific purposes.
The more detailed and restrictive your terms are, the harder it will be for someone to misuse the authority granted to them in a power of attorney for financial gain. Talking about your assets and what protection you need from a power of attorney with a lawyer can help you create documents well-suited for your needs.