There are different types of powers of attorney. They each have their own purpose and transfer varying levels of authority to the agent. A “durable” power of attorney stays in effect even after you have become incapacitated. Any other type of power of attorney will terminate automatically if you lose your mental capacity. Common examples of durable powers of attorney are ones that relate to financial or medical affairs.
According to the statutory law in Nevada, an “agent” (sometimes referred to as an "attorney-in-fact") is the “person granted authority to act for a principal under a power of attorney.” Depending on the type of power of attorney you are executing, there are some limitations on who can act as your agent.
For example, if the principal either resides or is about to reside in a hospital, assisted living facility or facility for skilled nursing, there are several categories of individuals that can NOT be designated as an agent. Those include the principal’s health care provider, an employee of the health care provider, the operator or employee of the health care facility. The only exception is if any of those individuals are the spouse, legal guardian or next of kin of the principal.
There are other specific situations that must be considered, especially when the principal is residing in a healthcare facility of some kind. You should consult a Reno Nevada estate planning attorney for assistance in choosing your agent for a power of attorney.
Since your agent will be given the legal authority to act on your behalf, it is crucial that you choose someone trustworthy and whom you believe will act only in your best interests. Consider whether you trust that person with your important financial or legal affairs.
Is that person responsible when it comes to their own finances? Consider how they manage their own affairs. You may choose a lawyer or accountant, but remember they will normally charge a fee, whereas family members usually perform the service for free. No matter who you choose, discuss that decision with them and make sure they agree to serve as your agent before you officially appoint them.
Remember, if a conflict of interest ever arises or you become worried about the agent’s trustworthiness, you can always terminate the agent’s authority by revoking the power of attorney and creating a new one.
You are allowed to appoint co-agents who will serve together as equals, as well as successive agents, in case the first agent is unable to continue the task. Keep in mind, however, if you appoint co-agents, confusion or conflict may arise if there are disagreements about the best approach for your financial assets. This situation would no doubt cause delays and disrupt the handling of your finances. With a health care power of attorney, it is never advisable and in some states it is prohibited to name co-agents. The reasons are obvious. For example, your health care provider may be able to reach only one of the agents in the event of an emergency, you may be suffering internal bleeding or another medical event that requires immediate attention, or the agents might not agree about what is best. Forcing the health care provider to find two people may exacerbate an already urgent situation. It is wise to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of this choice with a Nevada Estate Planning Attorney as part of your overall estate planning.