Power of Attorney Lawyer in Rocklin, California
It might be a scary thought to consider giving someone else the power to make financial, health, childcare, or other decisions for you, but there often comes a need for doing just that. Circumstances such as your own unavailability or incapacity may dictate that you assign someone a power of attorney (POA) to act on your behalf.
A power of attorney is often an essential part of comprehensive estate planning. You may create a living trust or a living will, but the trustee you name or the health care representative you designate may need more focused authority. A power of attorney often becomes an essential supplementary estate planning instrument, and in other situations, it becomes a powerful tool in and of itself.
To discuss all your estate planning needs, including powers of attorney, contact the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong. Attorney Geoffrey Fong proudly serves clients in Rocklin, California, and nearby in Roseville, Folsom, or Citrus Heights. He is an experienced estate planning attorney who will tailor your plan to your specific needs and goals.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal instrument through which you assign someone else the power to act in your stead. Fortunately, POAs can be restricted to certain tasks, a specified time frame, or even a threshold that must be met to set the POA in motion. In legal terms, the one who creates a POA is called the principal, and the person named in the document becomes the attorney-in-fact.
The use of the term attorney might be initially confusing. The word attorney refers to the authority you assign in the power of attorney. The person you name can be a family member, friend, associate, or even an institution.
Types of Powers of Attorney
In California, the basic forms of a power of attorney are:
General Financial Power of Attorney: This allows the attorney-in-fact to conduct all business except health care for the principal. This POA ceases upon the incapacitation of the principal.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney: This is the same as the general version except that it continues to be in effect if the principal becomes incapacitated, whereas the general does not. To make a POA durable in California, you include this language: “This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal.”
Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney: This POA gives your agent the power to make medical treatment decisions for you should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. This POA is generally accompanied by a living will, in which the principal states their preferences for medical treatment.
Limited or Special Power of Attorney: This allows your agent to conduct only specific tasks. If you’re going to be out of town or overseas, for instance, and you need to sign documents to close a real estate or business transaction, you can give someone the power to do that for you. It is also commonly used for childcare decisions. A limited POA can also be made durable with the inclusion of the proper wording.
Springing Power of Attorney: This POA can be limited or general but it comes into force only when certain conditions are met, for instance, when the principal becomes incapacitated. A springing POA is not necessarily a separate document, but one that contains language to establish the conditions upon which the POA becomes authorized.
Military Power of Attorney: When being deployed overseas, a servicemember may give a POA to a spouse or other person to take care of financial and other matters. The federal government has special provisions for the drafting of a military power of attorney.
The Importance of POAs
A power of attorney may sometimes become immediately necessary, as in our example above, when you have to sign documents but you’ll be overseas. A healthcare power of attorney, along with a living will, is something everyone should consider, given the fact that nearly 80% of the elderly face issues of incapacitation.
A general financial power of attorney is based upon circumstances in the principal’s life that limit or preclude them from handling matters on their own. Some people just don’t want to be bothered with paying bills and juggling finances, or they may just be too busy or focused on other areas of their life. They’d rather have someone they trust take charge of those everyday responsibilities.
A power of attorney can also accompany a living trust to ensure that the successor trustee you appoint will have full authority over your financial and personal matters.
Also, it’s important to remember that a power of attorney, even a durable one, can be revoked at any time so long as you are of sound mind when you make the decision.
Work with an Experienced Attorney
It’s important to plan for all eventualities and unforeseen circumstances in advance. Doing so requires developing a comprehensive estate plan that provides for your loved ones when you’re gone, but also anticipates circumstances in your life when you may need someone to speak or act on your behalf, such as sudden incapacitation.
Each person’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss your goals and needs in life. No doubt, part of the resulting estate plan will often include one or more powers of attorney.
Power of Attorney Lawyer
Serving Rocklin, California
Creating a detailed estate plan, including legally designating powers of attorney, can put you and your loved ones in a secure position for the future. If you’re in the Rocklin, California, area, or in Roseville, Folsom, or Citrus Heights, contact the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong for personalized and dedicated service in providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.