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Know what to look for in an attorney-in-fact

When you choose an attorney-in-fact, also called a “power of attorney,” you give this individual the right to make decisions on your behalf.

These decisions typically regard your healthcare, finances and legal matters.

Accordingly, you must choose your attorney-in-fact carefully as the outcomes could significantly impact your life.

Consider the following points while making your decision.


Above all other essential traits, choose a trustworthy individual to serve as your attorney-in-fact when you plan your estate.

Your chosen individual should be honest and reliable. They must be able to enforce your choices even if they go against the person’s personal beliefs or preferences.

Take care when selecting a family member, especially if your choice could cause a conflict.

Discuss your needs with family members and try to defuse conflicts before deciding.


Your attorney-in-fact should have expertise and familiarity with the information needed to make educated decisions.

They should know, or seek to find out, the relevant laws and regulations that pertain to any decisions they need to make on your behalf.

Communication and compatibility

When you select your attorney-in-fact, speak with them first to ensure they are willing to take on the job.

Choose someone you can communicate with easily, who can communicate your wishes clearly and accurately to other parties when making decisions.

In many cases, your spouse is the best choice.

If you set up a trust during your estate planning, the trustee is a good choice.

In all events, your attorney-in-fact must be someone you relate to and feel comfortable with, as you must share personal and confidential information with them.

Availability and willingness

Choose an attorney-in-fact who is nearby geographically, as they may need to be available on short notice. The individual may also need to remain flexible to adapt to evolving situations. The position comes with specific responsibilities, and your chosen attorney-in-fact must be willing to devote their time and attention to acting on your behalf when needed.

Selecting the best attorney-in-fact is essential, and you can make a more informed choice when you know which qualities truly matter.

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