Can a Durable Power of Attorney Help You?

No one likes thinking about death or incapacity. Yet, preparing a solid estate plan now can help ease some of the burdens later. An estate plan should include various documents, including a general power of attorney.

There are two kinds of power of attorney in California

Health Care Power of Attorney in California

A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to  name someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapable of making those decisions yourself. It used to be called a Living Will and only applied when you were in a terminal condition and at the end of life. Today, it applies in every situation where you can’t make your own medical decision and is called an Advanced Health Care Directive. This includes the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, unconscious or suffer from a serious mental illness.  It is  a key component of an estate plan  Advanced Health Care directives are the subject of another blog.

Financial Power of Attorney in California

A Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions gives another person authority the authority to manage your finances and personal affairs. This can be a relatively easy and inexpensive way to let someone else manage your affairs. However, unlike a joint bank account, the durable power of attorney does not allow the agent to use your assets for his or her own benefit.

This person will have control over making financial decisions that could affect your estate. Therefore, it is critical that you choose someone you trust completely to follow your directives, because mistakes and fraud can occur.

There are two kinds or Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs. A Springing Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs gives someone the power to manage your financial affairs only after a medical doctor has certified that you are no longer able to do it yourself.

A Durable Power of Attorney  for Financial Affairs gives someone the power to manage your financial affairs as soon as your sign it. durable power of attorney will have full authority to act in your best interests if you are unable.

Both types of Power of Attorney have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is critical that you discuss your choices with an experienced estate planning attorney can complete these forms and ensure that they comply with all state requirements.

Note that all powers of attorney terminate at your death.  They are then superseded by your will or living trust. Note also that there are such things as Limited Powers of Attorney which can be used I very selective circumstances. Also the subject of another blog.

Who Should Have Your Power of Attorney in California?

When choosing the right person to manage your affairs, be sure you have a solid and loving relationship with that person. It also helps if that person is organized and responsible. They will need to have the time to pay bills, guide investments and handle legal matters that arise. Because of these needs, many individuals often appoint family members to this role.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Palm Desert

Attorney Robert L. Firth will work with you to find estate planning solutions. He knows that these are stressful topics that are often not pleasant to think about. That is why he offers compassionate legal guidance from the start.

Attorney Firth has drafted more than 2,500 estate plans and can help you draft yours. Call us at (760) 202-5939 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. Whether you are helping your parents prepare a will or you need a durable power of attorney, Law Offices of Robert L. Firth is ready to assist you.


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