There may come a time in life when individuals become incapacitated and unable to care for their own affairs. At the time of such an event, it is beneficial to have a trusted person already in place who is authorized to help you by managing your financial and medical affairs. The power of attorney is the name of this type of authorization, and it is commonly used as part of an estate plan in California.
In the absence of a power of attorney, the court will appoint one. The person appointed by the court may not be the one the principal would have chosen, but that person has whatever powers are granted to them by the court, and not necessarily the powers that would have been selected by the individual. Even if the person is a family member, there could be differences of opinion between the agent and the principal.
When the individual takes the initiative to appoint a person as his or her agent, he or she has much more control over the situation. He or she will get to decide the range and reach of the agent’s powers and will also be able to select the exact person he or she wishes to have help him or her. Once a person has selected an agent, the agent can pay bills, manage investments or even transfer property if required.
A power of attorney is a powerful tool for estate planning, one that every adult person should consider. In California, many people decide to take the step to choose a POA so that the responsibility isn’t left to the courts. An elder law attorney can help any interested person who has questions about how to set up the designation.
Source: readingeagle.com, “Aging Well: Why do you need a power of attorney?”, Sean D. Curran, April 8, 2018