Choosing someone to make the right decisions for you should you become incapacitated is not always easy. While this person must know you and have a trustworthy character, those qualities are only the tip of the iceberg. Your decision maker needs to know how you would want your decisions made in a crisis. Your decision maker also needs to be able to remain impartial and focused on your wishes, which can be increasingly difficult under stressful and emotional circumstances.
Our clients, friends and neighbors often ask us how to choose the right decision maker for them in their Florida estate planning. While this is a deeply personal choice, let us share a few ideas to consider when you are selecting the right person for you based on your own unique needs.
1. You should completely trust your decision maker. While this may sound obvious, having a trustworthy decision maker is crucial. Your decision maker will be in the position to make life altering decisions for you and your family. Therefore, you must have full confidence in him or her and ensure he or she understands what you want done in specific situations.
2. Your decision maker should understand your values. When choosing someone to make all of your decisions for you in your time of need, this person needs to understand the values you hold. You want to know that this person will make the right decisions for you, and not for his, hers or anyone else’s best interest. By taking the time to discuss your values, this person will better understand what you would want to happen.
3. Your decision maker should be decisive, yet researched. Making life-altering decisions for another person is a significant responsibility. It is one that should not be taken lightly or made quickly. You should choose a decision maker who is able to make sound decisions after reviewing all alternative options and outcomes.
4. Your decision maker should be present in the future. Do not choose a decision maker who is not consistently present in your life now and will not be in your foreseeable future. This person, whether a friend, family member or spouse, should be someone you know will always be in your life. Sometimes, when you choose a decision maker, these decisions will not be made for another ten or more years. Is this person accessible? Will he or she make this process a priority?
Much of estate planning and elder planning is about making decisions early. It is about creating the plan you need to make sure you and your family are protected from uncertainty. Should you become incapacitated, it is crucial for you to have by your side an agent with the legal authority to make the right decisions for you. Do not wait to contact a member of our legal team to get started!