Newman Law Group

Power of attorney: What is it?

Estate planning is something that's been in the news in California a lot lately, especially with so many celebrities with sizable estates having recently passed away without having a will or trust in place. It may cause others to think they should establish a plan but the number of documents and the process itself can seem a little daunting. One term that is heard a lot but may not be understood is power of attorney.

A power of attorney document grants one person, sometimes identified as the attorney-in-fact, the authority to act on another's behalf. The person who grants the POA is sometimes identified as the principal. There are different types of POA documents.

A limited POA may grant authority for a person to act on another's behalf for only a specific transaction. This is occasionally used for real estate transactions, for example. A general power of attorney grants authority to act for a person in all of his or her affairs. This may occur if a person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to make decisions.

A person in California who is considering putting an estate plan in place could benefit from seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. A lawyer can review a person's assets, family situation, any health concerns and may be able to advise a client concerning a strategy to pursue in crafting an estate plan to meet one's needs. The plan may include a power of attorney in addition to a will and possibly a trust.

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