Planning for your death is important, but it is equally important to plan what should happen if you are still living but unable to make critical decisions for yourself. A key step in this process is assigning power of attorney to an agent you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
The Uniform Power of Attorney Act aims to establish consistent regulations for power of attorney contracts across the United States. Virginia is one of the states that has adopted this law. The UPOAA offers guidelines and protection for you, your agent and certain third parties.
Your agent’s obligations
The UPOAA requires that your agent:
- Act in good faith
- Act according to your wishes and best interest
- Not exceed the authority the power of attorney contract grants him or her
If your agent is no longer willing or able to fill his or her role, he or she should contact your guardian or conservator, a relative, another suitable adult or adult protective services.
Under the UPOAA, you may choose to offer your agent financial compensation for his or her duties. The law also allows your agent to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred while carrying out duties for you.
Protections and duties of third parties
The UPOAA states that third parties, such as health care providers and banks, must act on your agent’s directions if the power of attorney documents appear legitimate. The law protects them from legal action as long as they act in good faith.
Power of attorney allows someone you trust to handle your affairs. When considering power of attorney, you and your agent should review the provisions of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act.