Long Beach Durable Powers of Attorney Specialist
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal instrument that allows you to choose someone to make legal or financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. California permits “springing” POAs, which only become effective when a specified event or contingency triggers the need for a designated agent.
Many different sets of circumstances may trigger the need to designate an agent who can act as your legal representative, and these circumstances are not always related to aging or mental incapacity. You may want to designate a power of attorney, for example, if you’re scheduled for a surgical procedure with anesthesia, and there is some chance that the procedure will be more extensive than the one you initially consented to. Members of the military often create powers of attorney before they’re deployed overseas.
Non-Durable Versus Durable Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney that’s set up to be limited in scope is called a non-durable power of attorney. Non-durable POAs become void automatically either when the circumstances that led to their creation are no longer in effect or when you decide to revoke them. A non-durable power of attorney does not give your designated agent the right to act on your behalf should you become permanently mentally incapacitated, however. To plan for this contingency, you will need to create a durable power of attorney.
A durable POA will allow the person you designate as your principal to act on your behalf in legal and financial matters if mental infirmity compromises your ability to make these decisions yourself. You can nominate any competent adult whom you trust as your agent; you don’t have to choose a lawyer. Note, however, that unless you specify that you are setting up a durable power of attorney, your POA will automatically terminate if you become incapacitated.
The power of attorney document does not grant agents the right to make medical decisions on your behalf. In California, you will need to set up an Advance Health Care Directive if you want to authorize someone to make health-related decisions on your behalf.
Setting Up a Durable Power of Attorney in California
If you suddenly become incapacitated, and your loved ones realize that you need someone to act as your agent, they cannot set up a power of attorney on your behalf. You have to set up a power of attorney for yourself.
Laws and requirements pertaining to POAs vary from state to state. California permits a great deal of leeway in customizing the statutory document that sets up a power of attorney. In California, you can decide whether you want a durable power of attorney or a non-durable power of attorney. (Note, that some other states make the legal assumption that all POAs are durable POAs.) You can set up a springing power of attorney that’s contingent upon a certain event, or you can choose to have your power of attorney become effective immediately. You can also create a springing power of attorney that activates upon a specific date.
You can give the agent you designate general oversight with regards to your affairs, or you can specify oversight in specific areas, including:
- Business operations
- Real estate sales and purchases
- Transactions involving stocks, bonds, commodities and options
- Legal claims, litigation and similar transactions
- Tax-related matters
Note that if you empower your agent to act in a specific capacity, the agent can no longer act in other capacities since acting in those other capacities would essentially change the terms of the power of attorney. If you decide to limit a general power of attorney, make sure you are clear about the areas you want your agent to have responsibility over.
You can also use a power of attorney to designate more than one agent to act on your behalf. You can also designate several POAs within the same instrument so that, for example, one individual acts as your agent with respect to real estate transactions while another acts as your agent with respect to stock transactions.
Powers of attorney are extremely complex instruments that have the potential to make a huge impact on your estate and the quality of life you enjoy should you become mentally incapacitated. The California Elder Law Center PC will be glad to work with you to customize a durable power of attorney that meets your specific needs. We are the leading elder law firm in southern California. Contact us for more information.
Contact Long Beach Durable Power of Attorney Specialist at the California Elder Law Center PC
As California’s Leading Elder Law Firm, the Elder Law Center has the necessary knowledge and experience to help seniors and their families develop the proper Life Care Plan for the elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Whether you are planning for your own future or need assistance in caring for a loved one, the California Elder Law Center PC is ready to help. Schedule a free consultation with one of the attorneys by calling 562-377-7710 or toll free 877-377-7411, or by simply contacting us online.