There are several types of power of attorney forms available for various legal reasons including estate planning. What is a California durable power of attorney? Does it have any specific benefits?
Defining California Durable Power of Attorney
A California durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to give legal authority to another person to make decisions on your behalf. It’s called “durable” because it remains in effect even if you become incapacitated in some way. This is significantly different from other power of attorney forms. Other types will no longer be valid if you become incapacitated. Instead, other estate planning documents, such as an Advanced Healthcare Directive, become key in determining your care.
When creating a California durable power of attorney, it’s important to include specific language that allows you to cancel the document whenever you’d like. You can either list a certain time or you can just state that you reserve the right to cancel the document whenever you want to do so.This is important so that you can re-assume control of your finances and assets. For example, someone in the military may create a California durable power of attorney to give their spouse, domestic partner, or parent the ability to handle their affairs while they are deployed and only while they are deployed. They want to resume handling their own matters when they return home.Another important example revolves around relationships. If you’re married to someone and get a divorce, you may not want them to retain power of attorney.You’d likely want to revoke it.
What Are the Benefits of a California Durable Power of Attorney?
There are specific benefits found in creating a California durable power of attorney. Earlier, you learned that without one, the main source of information about how to care for you would be found in your Advanced Healthcare Directive. That is, of course, only if you have one. Yet, that document only gives someone the ability to make decisions related to your medical care.What about your assets? What about ensuring your bills are paid? Without a durable California power of attorney in place, someone may need to talk with an attorney to assume guardianship or conservatorship over you in order to take care of your assets and expenses (among other related matters). In addition to creating an expense that may not be financially possible for some. It also offers no guarantee that someone you trust will end up in a position of authority for your well-being as well as handling your financial affairs.
Creating a California durable power of attorney can make it easier to get through the probate process in the future. Probate is a difficult time for families, especially if someone went to court to become your guardian or conservator. A durable power of attorney names who can handle your affairs for you until death. This often minimizes fighting between family members during the probate process. Upon your death, the durable power of attorney ends and whomever is named in your will as your executor would then be confirmed by the court and assume control. This may or may not be the same person who acted as your attorney-in-fact.
Choose Someone Responsible
If you plan to create a California durable power of attorney, make sure that you choose someone who is responsible enough to handle your financial affairs and assets in the way that they know that you would want(or even that you’d need if you’re incapacitated). This person will have the legal authority to access your finances, buy or sell your property, pay your taxes, and even access any stocks you own. You want to choose the right person.
Be Clear in How Much Power Your Attorney-in-Fact Holds
One of the nice things about power of attorney forms is that you have the ability to specify exactly how much power the attorney-in-fact holds.If you don’t want this person to be able to access your stocks, you can state that. If you only want this person to make sure your monthly bills are paid until you return from a trip overseas, you can specify that. The amount of power given is within your control. Remember to be extremely detailed as you outline what that person can and cannot do.