When planning for the future, individuals often think about creating a power of attorney or POA. This legal document allows an adult to designate someone to decide on their behalf if they cannot do it personally.
This blog post will discuss the power of attorney and how it works. This post will also cover the five types of powers of attorney and when each type can be used. Finally, this post will provide tips on creating a power of attorney following San Diego CA laws.
While this post will give an overview of creating a power of attorney, it is essential to note that power of attorney laws vary from state to state. It is best practice to consult an experienced lawyer in San Diego CA, for advice on creating a power of attorney and how it must be structured. Lawyers at Weiner Law have extensive experience creating power of attorney and can provide input on this vital topic.
What Is A Power Of Attorney & Its Purpose?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, to make decisions on their behalf. That is if they can no longer do so themselves, which could be due to physical disability, mental incapacity, or even just because the individual is too busy with other matters and needs someone to handle specific tasks for them.
A POA must include details about the agent’s authority over the individual and when that power will come into effect. To grant it, you must be at least 18 years old and have the mental capacity to understand what you are doing. You will also need to sign the document in front of a witness. Once you grant a POA, you can revoke it at any time by notification in writing.
The Five Types Of Power Of Attorney
The San Diego CA courts define power of attorney as an individual given the authority to make decisions on another person’s behalf. You should be aware of its five different types, each with a specific purpose.
General Power Of Attorney
A general power of attorney grants broad authority over a person’s affairs. It can be used for various purposes, such as managing investments and business transactions. An example of a situation where you may grant POA would be if you are going away for an extended period and want someone else to handle your affairs in your absence.
Limited Power Of Attorney
A limited power of attorney is more specific than a general power of attorney, as it grants authority only for specific tasks or transactions. It can be used when you need someone else to take care of a vital task, such as signing tax documents or closing on a real estate purchase. For example, you can create a limited power of attorney to allow someone to sign a deed on your behalf if you cannot attend the signing.
Springing Power Of Attorney
A springing POA is similar to a limited power of attorney, except that it only becomes effective when specific circumstances are met. This authority can be used in cases where you want someone else to take over your affairs but don’t need them to do so immediately. For example, you could create a power of attorney that would go into effect if you become incapacitated or die.
Medical Power Of Attorney
A medical power of attorney gives someone the authority to decide about your health care if you become incapacitated. It should be used when you want someone to make important health care decisions on your behalf, such as deciding whether or not to put you on life support. It can be used when someone is preparing for a major surgery or facing a serious medical condition and wants to ensure their health care wishes are followed in case they cannot make those decisions on their own.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable POA remains valid even if the individual granting power of attorney becomes incapacitated or dies. It has several purposes, including managing finances and making legal decisions. It is essential to know that this POA does not take effect until it is needed and should only be used when necessary.
How To Choose Your Attorney-In-Fact
When choosing someone to be the attorney-in-fact, it’s crucial to select a person you trust completely. This person will have great control over your financials and medical conditions, so you must choose wisely. Here are a few key factors to consider when making your selection.
- Location. If you live in San Diego CA, it’s best to choose someone who also resides in the area. It will make it easy for them to attend required legal proceedings and fulfill the power of attorney obligations on your behalf.
- Availability. Your attorney-in-fact must have the time and resources needed to carry out all POA responsibilities, including attending court sessions, managing finances, and making medical decisions.
- Trustworthiness. Above all else, it is essential to choose a trustworthy individual. This person will have power over your most important affairs and must be reliable to make decisions in your best interest.
What Happens If Your POA Can No Longer Act On Your Behalf?
If you have named someone your power of attorney, it is crucial to understand what would happen if they could no longer act on your behalf. In San Diego CA, the court will appoint a conservator to manage your affairs if your POA can no longer act for you.
The conservator will be responsible for making financial and legal decisions on your behalf and ensuring that your physical needs are met. If you have specific instructions you would like the conservator to follow, you should make these known in advance.
In addition, it is important to choose someone you trust implicitly to act in your best interests. Taking these precautions ensures that your affairs will be managed as you desire, even if your PTO can no longer act on your behalf.
How To Create A Power Of Attorney In San Diego CA?
If you are planning to create a power of attorney in San Diego CA, it’s essential to understand the process and any applicable laws. The PTO must be in writing and signed by both the grantor and the grantee. The PTO should include specific instructions on when it will go into effect, what type(s) of power of attorney is being granted, and how long it will remain valid. Here are the steps for creating a POA in San Diego CA.
Choosing Your Attorney-In-Fact
The first step in creating a power of attorney is choosing the right person to act as your attorney-in-fact. Consider the factors outlined above and choose someone who meets all of your criteria.
Drafting Your POA Document
Once you have chosen an attorney-in-fact, it’s time to draft your power of attorney document. This document must meet all legal requirements in San Diego CA and should include specific details about when POA will go into effect, what type(s) of power of attorney is being granted, how long power of attorney will remain valid, and any other instructions you wish to include. It’s recommended to hire an estate planning lawyer to guide you with the drafting of your POA.
Finalizing The Document
When you have finished drafting your POA, you and your attorney-in-fact must sign it. Make sure you both have copies for your records. For it to become legally binding, the document must be signed in front of two adult witnesses who will also affix their signatures to the form. The document must also be notarized.
Using Your Power Of Attorney Document
Once the power of attorney document has been signed, witnessed, and notarized, it will become effective. Your attorney-in-fact can then begin fulfilling the POA obligations according to your specific instructions.
How Often Should You Update Your POA?
Some choose to appoint a spouse, family member, or close friend as their attorney-in-fact. However, it is essential to review your power of attorney periodically to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. If you have experienced a significant life event, such as getting married or having a child, you may consider updating your power of attorney.
You should also review the document if the person you have appointed as your attorney-in-fact can no longer serve in that role. By keeping your power of attorney up to date, you get the assurance that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes if you cannot act personally.
Creating a power of attorney is an important responsibility that requires careful planning and decision-making. It’s essential to understand California POA laws to ensure you make a valid document. This guide helps you understand the POA process in San Diego CA, and discuss the necessary steps in creating a POA document that meets your needs and follows local laws.
If you have questions or need assistance creating a power of attorney in San Diego CA, Weiner Law is here to help. Their experienced estate planning attorneys can guide you through its process and ensure that your POA meets all legal requirements. Contact them today for a complimentary evaluation.