Power of Attorney Lawyer in Oakland, California
According to various statistical studies, only one-third of Americans have a will in place, while two-thirds report having no will. Although the power you grant an attorney-in-fact is focused upon your death, different types of powers of attorney are considerably beneficial while you are alive. It can be an extremely critical resource should you become debilitated or otherwise be unable to conduct your affairs.
A will, or last will and testament, is the foundation of estate planning. Most people have little knowledge regarding estate planning, such as living trusts, advance directives, and powers of attorney.
A power of attorney is an essential legal instrument to empower someone else to act on your behalf when you can’t. It may be because you’re traveling abroad, deployed by the military, or personally incapacitated; however, you need someone else to pay bills, juggle finances, sign documents, or perform a variety of other tasks.
Estate planning is not just for people in gated communities and luxury automobiles. It’s a tool for anyone who works and accumulates possessions and assets to ensure that those items will help provide for their loved ones when they are gone. A power of attorney is often an essential part of that plan.
If you are in or around Oakland, California, and you want to know more about how estate planning – and powers of attorney – can help you and yours prepare for the future, contact us at Davidson Estate Law. We proudly serve clients in Walnut Creek, Berkeley, San Francisco, El Cerrito, Alameda, and the Bay Area.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a document in which you (the principal) give another person (the attorney-in-fact) the authority to make financial decisions for your sake. Generally, the power extends to business and financial matters, but in the case of a specialized POA to be discussed below, the power can extend to making medical treatment decisions on your behalf.
There are three types of POAs:
General: This type bestows broad business and financial powers on the person named as the attorney-in-fact, or agent, in the document. Though the person is called an attorney-in-fact, the person you appoint can be just about anyone — a family member, friend, or business associate.
Limited: This one limits the scope of the POA. For instance, you are unavailable to sign an important document, so you appoint someone to sign it.
Healthcare: In many states, this is the type of POA that empowers someone to make decisions about your predetermined medical treatment to your physician, should you become incapacitated. The person granting the POA will express decisions, such as resuscitation. In the state of California, you name this type of representative in your Advance Directive.
The Importance of a Durable Power of Attorney
Having a durable power of attorney as a part of your estate plan provides a way for your chosen agent to make decisions on your behalf regarding financial matters and property management, including investments, bank accounts, tax affairs, and living trusts. A durable power of attorney keeps the POA from losing its power in the event of the incapacitation of the principal.
If you should become incapacitated without the presence of a durable power of attorney, no one will have the power to step in and make decisions regarding your financial affairs unless the court establishes a guardianship or conservatorship, a legal process that costs time and money. In the end, the court may not even appoint someone you would have wanted to make such decisions on your behalf.
Having a durable power of attorney in place can give you not only the peace of mind that your affairs will be cared for but also the confidence that a person of your choosing will be carrying out your wishes.
Choosing Your Agent
You must choose someone savvy in finance and business matters if that’s the purpose of your POA. You should also trust the person implicitly. California laws protect against abuse by an attorney-in-fact, but it can happen. Pick someone trustworthy.
When it comes to crucial health care matters, you need a trustworthy, agreeable, level-headed POA to convey your treatment choices.
A power of attorney is often an essential component of estate planning. You need to get a complete estate planning assessment with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney, even if you already have a will or trust in place.
Hiring a durable healthcare power of attorney is beneficial, general or limited powers of attorney can often facilitate the responsibilities of a trustee’s name in a living or other form of trust.
Power of Attorney Lawyer
Serving Oakland, California
If you are in Oakland, California, or any of the surrounding areas of Walnut Creek, Berkeley, San Francisco, El Cerrito, Alameda, and the Bay Area, contact us at Davidson Estate Law. Our team can help assess all your estate planning needs, including powers of attorney, to create a plan for you and your loved ones that will provide long-lasting peace of mind.