Why Should You Have A Power Of Attorney?
The Law Offices of Bruce Ketron, with offices in Napa and Santa Rosa, California, helps individuals and families in Napa County and Sonoma County record powers of attorney and other advance directives.
What Is A Power Of Attorney? And What It Isn’t.
Your power of attorney (POA) appoints an agent of your choice to handle matters for you. Your agent is your “attorney in fact.”
A power of attorney is not like a conservatorship nomination over an incapacitated person. People cannot petition the court for powers of attorney over another individual. It is a right that must be granted by the individual authorizing another person to take control under specific circumstances. The only person who can get documented power of attorney authorized by the courts is the individual willing to grant the powers.
And Why Do You Need One?
Without a power of attorney many important things cannot happen, and your family may be required to go to court to appoint a conservator for you. This is a difficult legal proceeding that is sometimes called “a lawsuit filed against you by yourself for the benefit of others who you may not like at all.” And the large expenses are all paid by you.
Specific Types Of Powers Of Attorney To Cover Specific Needs
All powers of attorney can be customized to meet your specific needs regarding the power you wish to assign another individual over your affairs. But there are specific types of POAs to cover specific concerns.
There are two types of written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf: one type is for finances and another is for health care.
The power of attorney for finance covers financial and legal matters such as bank accounts and business dealings. A financial POA allows your agent to handle your bank account and other financial matters when you are traveling or living in another place. Most often, the financial POA is “springing,” as it “springs” into action when the principal is incapacitated (not able to handle his or her own affairs), either temporarily or permanently. If the power of attorney is needed only temporarily, it then “springs back” so that you, and only you, make your decisions. It is important to understand that a financial POA is no longer effective once the principal is deceased.
It is most important to know that the provisions of a POA can be written to cover just the things you want and be limited in time and place.
- The power of attorney for health care (also known as a “living will” or advance health care directive) covers your health matters when you are not able to make those decisions. You can express your wishes concerning your health care. In the best-case scenario, the principal discusses his or her wishes regarding health care treatment with the agent while the principal is well and able to make his or her desires known and before there is any need for the agent to step in and make decisions. The health care power of attorney can authorize someone to handle your arrangements after your death.