Setting up a power of attorney is a crucial part of estate planning in California. Should California residents fall into a coma or end up unable to make their own decisions, their power of attorney will make their financial and legal decisions.
Why do you need a power of attorney?
The person acting as your power of attorney gets to make all of your legal and financial decisions while you’re out of commission. This includes paying bills and handling health insurance to prevent lapses while recovering.
Having a power of attorney can prevent someone else from having to take guardianship over you. Getting to choose the person who can handle your estate as you get older can prevent another family member or friend from taking guardianship over your estate when you don’t want them to.
What can a power of attorney do?
Power of attorneys can buy or sell real estate property on your behalf and file your taxes. They can also apply for benefits on your behalf, hire accountants and lawyers, and manage your investments and other finances.
A power of attorney can also file a lawsuit on your behalf. However, a power of attorney can’t create your estate plan for you or vote for you in an election. They also can’t take your place as a trustee.
Think carefully about who you’ll appoint
The person you pick to be your power of attorney should be someone you trust. You should also talk with this person before they’re needed to serve as your power of attorney as to what your wishes may be.
These people should also get along with your surviving family or appoint a family member that you trust. Appointing a power of attorney is a big decision, and talking to your loved ones about it is important.