Preparing for unforeseen circumstances and possible incapacity is of the utmost importance to ensure your preferences are known and carried out. Our attorneys work with our estate planning clients to determine each client’s individual circumstances and needs, family situations, health concerns and other wishes in order to outline a comprehensive plan. Powers of Attorney, including Advanced Heath Care Directives, can be useful to provide direction and planning for future known and unknown events.
Our attorneys prepare customized powers of attorney including health care directives for a diverse group of clients ranging from newlyweds and new parents to siblings to life partners to grandparents. For a free consultation to discuss planning for you and your loved ones, please contact us.
General Information about Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legally binding document wherein the principal gives his/her agent (or “attorney-in-fact”) the legal authority to act on behalf of the principal. A power of attorney can be broad and ongoing for example, “to handle my financial affairs” or narrow with a specified term for example “to sell my boat when I move to LA.”
In order to be legally binding, the power of attorney must be signed by the principal before a Notary Public and be witnessed by two adult witnesses, neither of which may be the agent. The California Probate Code §§4000-4545 outlines additional requirements and the extensive rights and responsibilities of both the agent and the principal.
It is important to remember that creation of a new power of attorney does not automatically revoke or cancel a pre-existing power of attorney. Conflicting powers of attorney may be problematic.
Types of Powers of Attorney
Numerous types of powers of attorney exist to cover a range of situations from financial to property to healthcare. In addition to the types of powers of attorney outlined below, specifically tailored and customized powers of attorney may be drafted to meet a client’s particular needs or requests. Please contact us with any questions.
Durable vs. General Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney remains active following the incapacitation of the principal. In the event that the principal is incapacitated, a durable power of attorney may prevent costly and time consuming conservatorship or other probate actions as the agent can continue to perform business pursuant to the power of attorney.
A general power of attorney is extinguished if the principal becomes incapacitated or revises the power of attorney. If a principal is incapacitated, conservatorship or probate court actions may be required to appoint the same, or a different person to act on the principal’s behalf. This process can be time consuming and costly.
Advanced Health Care Directive
An advanced health care directive is a medical, hospice and quality of life oriented power of attorney combined with a living will that provides authority to the agent to make medical, rehabilitation, hospice and other health related decisions for the principal. Advanced heath care directives can be customized to specify what types of life-saving or life-extending measures the principal authorizes the agent to make, specify a medical group or doctor for care, and include directions regarding final wishes. California Probate Code §§4600-4806 outlines the requirements and responsibilities related to an Advanced Health Care Directive and Living Will.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney, as its name suggests, provides broad authority to the agent to perform business and financial transactions on behalf of the principal. This power of attorney may customized to be durable or general and may specify duration or purpose.
Limited or Special Power of Attorney
Generally, a limited or special power of attorney conveys power of attorney for a specifically defined purpose or duration. For example, power of attorney to sell specific property, make child care or education decisions, or for prisoners to conduct necessary business outside of prison are examples of limited or specific powers of attorney.
Military Power of Attorney
Federal law strictly governs the requirements to create a power of attorney for military personnel. The military, through the Armed Services Legal Assistance Office (ASLAO) provides all necessary information, documents and forms to military personnel and their families. To locate your nearest ASLAO office, please click here.
Services We Provide
Our office provided customized, innovative and thoughtful solutions to our power of attorney clients including: (1) planning meetings and consultations regarding available options, (2) preparation of customized powers of attorney, (3) consultations, phone calls, client updates, (4) legal research as necessary, and (5) representation in court proceedings as necessary. Please contact us for a free consultation.