A power of attorney is an essential part of your estate plan and a powerful tool to make sure that your health, finances, and well-being are protected. Power of attorney documents empower you to name a person who can sign on your behalf and control your legal and health concerns when you are no longer able.
A power of attorney can be an integral part of your estate planning and with an experienced California estate planning attorney at your side, you can create powers of attorney that fit your needs.
What is a California Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document in which you assign certain authority to another person, called the agent or attorney-in-fact. In many cases, a power of attorney document is created as part of the estate planning process to plan for when you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
A power of attorney which stays in effect after you have become incapacitated is called a "durable power of attorney." It is an extremely valuable tool to protect your finances and your health for the future.
Revoking a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney can be revoked so long as you have the capacity to make that decision. There are certain formalities that must be followed both in the creation and revocation of a power of attorney.
Consult with your estate planning lawyer to make sure you follow all legal requirements.
Different Types of Powers of Attorney in California
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney grants full authority to the agent to act as if he or she were you. This empowers the agent to conduct your business, personal, and legal affairs when you are unable to do so.
Your agent can
- buy or sell property in your name,
- manage bank accounts,
- file tax returns,
- enter into contracts, or
- provide for the care of children.
Limited Power of Attorney
A limited power of attorney grants specific and defined powers to your agent. This limits the scope of what the agent is able to do in your name. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may want a particular person to handle your business matters but not your personal bank accounts. Limited power of attorney documents can be drafted with your unique needs in mind.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney (or, advance health care directive) is a legal document created specifically to name an agent to make health care and personal care decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. Signing a health acre directive does not take away your own ability to make decisions, but names a person to take over when you are no longer competent to make your own decisions.
A medical doctor usually determines your competency. You have the right to name a particular doctor in your health care directive if you wish.
An agent under your health care directive can
- communicate freely with your health care providers;
- make health care and personal care decisions on your behalf;
- make treatment decisions on your behalf, including authorizing surgeries; and
- make end-of-life decisions, if necessary.
Your advance health care directive can also spell out how you would like certain decisions to be made regarding anatomical gifts, funerals, disposition of remains, autopsies, and related matters.
Consult a California Estate Planning Attorney
A power of attorney grants you flexibility and security for when you are unable to make your own decisions or handle your own affairs. Attorney Lauren Rios has years of legal experience and will put that experience to work for you in creating any power of attorney documents you need.
She represents clients throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. Contact the Law Office of Lauren Rios today either online or at (650) 727-0900.