When you think about planning for the future, taking steps such as drafting a will or creating a trust probably come to mind. Another important part of preparing is being ready if you can’t make decisions about your health care or finances. Fortunately, by including California powers of attorney as part of your estate plan, you can have the right measures in place to help protect your interest.
What is a California Power of Attorney?
In California, you can create a legal document called a power of attorney which names someone who can step in and make decisions regarding certain aspects of your life. Although some people associate having a power of attorney as being appropriate for older individuals, this device is necessary for adults at any age. For instance, regardless of your stage of life, you could be injured in a car accident and left unconscious. Without a power of attorney, decisions about your medical care and financial interest could be delayed because of the need for court involvement.
Durable and Springing Powers of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal device which essentially is effective as soon as it is signed and does not end even if you become incapacitated. A springing power of attorney only becomes effective when you become incapacitated.
Types of Powers of Attorney
A general power of attorney gives another person the authority to make decisions regarding a vast number of financial and legal issues. A California limited power of attorney essentially keeps the designated individual’s authority restricted to a specific area, period of time, or transaction. For example, you may want someone to only have control concerning your personal accounts rather than those of your business. You may also want to confine your designee’s authority to a specific period of time, such as when you are out of the country.
A power of attorney for health care is when you give another person authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Under California law, unless stated otherwise, a power of attorney for healthcare becomes effective when a person loses capacity and ceases when it is determined that he or she has regained capacity.
California Legal Requirements
The California probate code requires that the person creating a power of attorney have the legal capacity to do so, which usually means he or she is 18 and of sound mind. The document must be signed before a notary. A power of attorney for health care, (Advanced Health Care Directive) can be signed in front of a notary or two witnesses, and they must also sign the document. However, these witnesses cannot be the designated person, healthcare provider, or employee of your healthcare provider.
California powers of attorney can be an effective way to protect both your financial and healthcare interests. However, it is critical that you include the right language and observe the correct procedures and laws when creating them. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have experience with California powers of attorney and can help you ensure that you are protected. Schedule a free consultation today.