When setting up a power of attorney or POA, you must understand what this legal document does and how it works. It allows you to designate an agent to decide and act on your behalf. There are five different types of POA, each with its specific rules. Also, you must consider factors such as age and health when selecting your agent. POA can be used for various reasons, such as medical decisions or financial matters. This blog post will discuss the basics of POA and provide steps for setting it.
While this post gives an overview of a power of attorney, this should not be considered legal advice. If you are in San Diego CA, you should contact an estate planning attorney at Weiner Law for more specific guidance. Hiring a lawyer is essential for any legal document like power of attorney. So contact them today for a complimentary evaluation.
What Is Power Of Attorney?
A power of attorney authorizes your designated agent or representative the capacity to manage and decide in your stead when you’re unable to do so. A POA can be used for medical decisions, financial matters, and other legal issues. Your assigned agent will have access to your property and finances, so it’s crucial that the person selected is someone you trust completely.
How Does POA Work?
Once you create a POA, the agent will have the legal authority to perform actions on behalf of the principal. The power of attorney document should be clear about what decisions and actions are authorized for the agent. This document can be revoked or altered at any time as long as you are still capable and able to do so.
Types Of POA
A power of attorney gives authority to a designated agent to decide and act for the principal. There are five types of powers of attorney, each with its rules and regulations. The principal must understand the power of each type before deciding which suits a specific situation.
Hiring a San Diego estate planning attorney can guide you on your journey of protecting your financial and medical affairs with a power of attorney. As a result, it will give you peace of mind knowing someone will act on your behalf when your are incapacitated.
A durable POA lists the principal’s wishes in the power of attorney document and is valid when the principal can no longer make decisions. It remains effective even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. You can use durable POA in situations such as designating an agent to decide what happens to your finances if you cannot do so.
A general POA grants broad powers to the agent that can be used in any legal matter on behalf of the principal. The authority granted by this document is often limited to a specific period and ceases after that time frame.
A general power of attorney is suitable when you want someone else to decide and act for you while you are away or unable to do so yourself. For example, suppose you will be away on vacation but must sign documents for a real estate purchase. A general POA will authorize your designated agent to sign the papers for you instead.
A healthcare power of attorney gives the agent the capability to make medical decisions for the principal in case they cannot do so. The authority granted by this document can be used for decisions related to treatments, doctors, and other medical matters. You may also include any wishes regarding end-of-life care. A healthcare POA is similar to a living will, but while a living will only cover end-of-life wishes, healthcare power of attorney also includes decisions relating to medical treatments and procedures.
A limited power of attorney only grants authority to the agent for a specific task, situation, or period. This power can be used in any legal matter but cannot be used beyond the specified purpose. For example, you may use a limited power of attorney to allow your designated agent to act on your behalf when out of town. However, once you return, the POA will expire.
A springing power of attorney only becomes valid when the principal can no longer make decisions or is incapacitated. It should clearly state what capacity will be granted to the agent in such circumstances. Springing power of attorney gives you control to decide who will make decisions and act on your behalf if something unexpected happens. For example, you may use a springing power of attorney to allow somebody to decide on financial matters for you if you become incapacitated.
Considerations When Designating An Agent
When choosing an agent for power of attorney, you must consider several factors. Most importantly, the person should be trustworthy and have experience in making legal decisions. They should also understand your wishes as outlined in the power of attorney document.
In addition, ensure you choose someone available or will remain available for some time. This is to assure they can act on your behalf if needed. Lastly, guarantee that a power of attorney allows them to complete all tasks listed without conflict of interest or other legal issues.
Designating Relatives As Agents
You may choose your spouse, parents, siblings, or other close relatives as your agents. However, you must ensure that they meet the criteria and have no conflict of interest in making decisions on your behalf.
When You Might Need A POA
You may need the power of attorney if you are going away on vacation and need someone to act on your behalf at home. In such cases, you can use a limited POA for a specific task or period. Or, if something unexpected happens and you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent, then a durable power of attorney or springing power of attorney will come into effect.
POA Vs. Last Will & Testament
A power of attorney is different from the last will. POA assigns someone to manage your affairs, while a will outlines the distribution of your property after death. If conditions written in the POA conflict with those written in a will, then a power of attorney will take precedence.
Steps To Setting Up A Power Of Attorney
By following these steps, you can easily set up a power of attorney in San Diego CA, and ensure that your wishes are carried out if something unexpected happens. It is essential to consider all aspects carefully when drafting POA documents and choosing an agent, so consult a skilled estate planning attorney for help.
- Choose an agent – If you have identified a trusted family member or friend to act as a power of attorney, make sure they meet all criteria required to be your agent.
- Create POA documents – You must create POA documents specifying your wishes and outlining the authority granted to the agent. In San Diego, CA, consult a qualified POA lawyer to help you with the legal process and ensure that the power of attorney document adheres to state laws.
- Sign the paperwork – After creating a power of attorney document, both parties must sign before a notary public for it to be legally binding.
- Notarize to be valid- The POA must be notarized by a public notary for it to be legally binding and effective.
- Keep in a safe place – Make sure to store a POA securely, such as in a fireproof safe or with an online storage service.
How To Revoke A POA
POAs are not permanent so you can revoke them at any time. To do this, create a revocation power of attorney document and sign it in front of a notary public. Once this is done, the POA will be void and no longer valid.
It is essential to understand when and how power of attorney works before setting up POA documents or appointing an agent. Following these steps and considerations carefully ensures that your wishes are fulfilled should something unexpected happen.
Creating a power of attorney can be beneficial in various situations, such as travel and times of mental incapacity or incompetence. It is wise to consult an experienced estate planning lawyer to ensure that all legal requirements are met when setting up POA documents. Finally, ensure you understand how to revoke the POA if needed.
Weiner Law is experienced in creating power of attorney cases in San Diego CA. Contact them for a complimentary evaluation if you want to learn more about POAs. In addition, they can help you set up POA documents so that your wishes are carried out if something unexpected happens.
They have an experienced team of San Diego estate planning attorneys who will guide you through the entire process and ensure that all requirements are met before signing a POA document. With their help, you can easily create a power of attorney and rest assured knowing that your instructions will be respected.