Most people in California know it is prudent to draft a will so that heirs receive their intended bequeathment. However, don’t forget to protect your own interests. Make arrangements to grant one or more individuals power of attorney so that they can carry out your wishes when you can’t act for yourself.
Estate planning sessions usually include discussions regarding wills, trusts and the benefits of designating someone you know and trust the right to act on your behalf when you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. This right is known as a power of attorney. If a need arises and you don’t have such a designated agent, a court may appoint a stranger to handle your affairs. To avoid this situation, you may grant someone the right to act as your agent for specifically named duties or all related activities within one of the following two categories discussed in the post.
Power of attorney categories
There are two types of power of attorney categories. One allows someone to transact financial matters for you while the other grants the same or different individual the right to make healthcare decisions. California requires that the granting documents are notarized and signed by two witnesses.
A durable power of attorney discussed during estate planning has less to do with managing your current financial affairs and more with establishing a backup plan should you become too ill or confused to make financial decisions in the future. This arrangement provides the peace of mind that someone will watch over your personal and business needs when necessary.
In California, an advanced health care directive grants a named individual the power to make medical decisions and follow any end-of-life medical intervention directives stated in the document. California law does not automatically give a spouse these rights.
Durable powers of attorney last for a lifetime and end when the principal dies. However, the grantor may revoke the power by drafting a written notice that should be notarized.
Ensure that there is continuity in your affairs if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. Include the power of attorney designations as part of your estate plan.