Establishing powers of attorney can be incredibly beneficial for people across New Jersey. It is an estate planning tool that ensures individuals will still have a voice, even if they cannot speak for themselves. 

But how can individuals choose someone who will speak on their behalf and represent them? It can be a challenging decision, but here are some questions that individuals can consider to find the right representative.

Where do they live?

The representative—often called the agent—someone chooses should probably live close by. For example, if a medical emergency leaves someone incapacitated, their healthcare agent would need to be at the hospital as soon as possible to act on their behalf and make critical decisions.

So, if a trusted family member lives more than 50 miles away, they might not be the best choice.

Are they willing and able to represent you?

There are quite a few legal requirements that representatives must meet, including:

  • They are of sound mind
  • They are of age, usually 18 or older
  • They are willing

While one’s representative must have these qualifications, it is important to note that the representative should be both willing and comfortable to act on behalf of the individual. Acting as someone’s representative is not an easy job, so they must be up for the responsibility it requires.

Are they trustworthy?

Of course, individuals must choose someone they trust to represent them and their best interests. Individuals should be able to count on their representative to act honestly and in good faith to their needs.

Will they stand up for you confidently?

A representative should be:

  • Assertive 
  • Eloquent
  • Understanding

These three qualities are essential, so a representative can stand up for individuals and clearly articulate what is in their best interests. Individuals can make their wishes clear through several estate planning tools, but a representative should be able to explain and adhere to those wishes to protect the individual’s needs and interests.