Power of Attorney Lawyer Referral Service
Many people do not become aware of the need for a power of attorney until they face a situation where one is needed. This often happens as grandparents or parents age and become less capable of making key decisions regarding their health and wellbeing. In many cases, they are already mentally or physically incapacitated by this point, and cannot legally assign a trustworthy power of attorney or carryout other estate planning tasks. This is why naming a power of attorney before one is needed is important.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney gives someone the legal authority to make decisions about another’s physical or financial health. They can also make transactions in place of the account holder, and may be privy to private health and financial information. These legal documents are primarily used to ensure a trusted friend or family member can make key decisions for someone who cannot make them on their own, such as in cases where they are unable to communicate or are deemed mentally incompetent.
What Does a Power of Attorney Do?
In most cases, a power of attorney grants general decision making rights that cover all personal and financial decisions. This may include receiving signing to deposit checks, paying bills and other financial transactions. It also covers medical decisions such as which treatment plan should be used or whether surgery is necessary. Finally, a general power of attorney also covers personal decisions. This can range from the best diet for their loved one to selling a home or other property.
A specific power of attorney is also used to grant a trusted friend or family member the right to make decisions, only with this type of document the powers are limited. In most cases, they cover on a single topic. Specific powers granted by a power of attorney may include:
- Long-term care and guardianship
- The use of life-sustaining treatments
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Power of Attorney?
While there are a number of online sites that offer simple power of attorney documents, it is important to know that estate planning laws can be complicated and that they often vary widely from state to state. A local estate planning lawyer will be well-versed in the power of attorney laws laid out in section 4000 to 4545 of California Probate Code.
A power of attorney agreement is not something to be entered into lightly, as it allows another person to make decisions about your health and wellbeing, as well as your future. This makes it important to consult with an experienced lawyer before you sign a power of attorney and give someone else access to your financial, medical and personal information. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what type of power of attorney best fits your situation. He can also draft a document that clearly outlines which powers are granted, and excludes any that are not.
How Do I Find a Lawyer
The Attorney Referral Service of The San Fernando Valley Bar Association specializes in ensuring residents of San Fernando Valley have access to the most highly-qualified lawyers for all of their legal needs. Call us today at (818) 340-4529 to be connected to a local estate planning attorney.