A person will sign a number of legal documents throughout his or her life. It has been argued that the power of attorney document is among the most important. However, many individuals never have one. In California, individuals who wish to prepare for a time when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves may wish to learn more about this type of legal designation.
One should never assume that all powers of attorney are the same, or depend on rote, simple forms to designate such. Since a person chosen to be one’s personal representative will have the ability to make binding decisions. An individual should strive to make the responsibilities and limitations clear, as well as specific preferences. Finding a trustworthy person who has the personality and time to devote to the task can be extremely important as well.
There are two main types of powers of attorney — medical and financial. In the event that a person becomes incapacitated, this person will step in and communicate with medical staff to carry out the person’s specified wishes, either temporarily, long-term or at the end of life. A financial representative will be able to access financial information as well as sign for the person on financial documents.
When a person plans ahead to determine the best power of attorney for his or her specific needs, he or she will be able to choose what should be done and how broad the power is. By preparing well in advance for the day when individuals are not able to do for themselves, they give themselves the opportunity to structure their lives how they see fit. For those who desire help with this type of planning in California, one option is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Source: readingeagle.com, “Aging Well: Learn and understand the powers of attorney”, William R. Blumer, Feb. 11, 2018