Santa Maria Powers of Attorney Lawyer
Giving Clients Peace of Mind in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo
Consider what would happen if you were suddenly unable to communicate. Who would pay your bills or manage your financial affairs? Who would decide what medical care you receive and ensure you get the best possible treatment? Thinking about incapacity can be frightening, but the reality is that an unexpected injury or illness can put otherwise healthy people in a situation where they cannot advocate for themselves.
By establishing powers of attorney, you appoint agents to act on your behalf. OurSanta Maria powers of attorney lawyer at the Law Offices of R. Morgan Holland, L.C. can help you in selecting and formalizing your choice of agent and ensure that they have the powers they need to assist you in times of crisis.
Types of Powers of Attorney in California
When you give someone powers of attorney, you give the person that you are empowering – called the agent or attorney-in-fact – the ability to make legal, medical, and/or financial decisions on your behalf. You determine the scope of authority provided to your agent.
The state of California recognizes the following types of powers of attorney:
- General Powers of Attorney. This broad category allows your agent to make a wide variety of financial and legal decisions on your behalf. You can still place limitations on these powers: For example, you might only allow your agent to pay bills and handle other routine transactions. Conversely, you could give your agent near-blanket authority, including allowing them to manage your business affairs in your place.
- Limited Powers of Attorney. This classification allows an agent to act on your behalf on a temporary basis or for a specific event or transaction. Limited POAs are often utilized to close business or real estate deals.
- Medical Powers of Attorney. Agents with medical powers of attorney can make decisions about the health care that you receive in situations where you become incapacitated. Agents typically rely on advanced health care directives provided by the principal that define their preferences.
In addition to deciding the extent of your agent’s abilities, you also decide when and for how long their authority takes effect. This element does not apply to medical powers of attorney, which always and automatically take effect once the principal is incapacitated. Medical powers of attorney are relinquished once the principal is able to communicate on their own.
General and limited powers of attorney can both take either of the following forms:
- Durable Powers of Attorney. If powers of attorney are durable, the appointed agent has authority as soon as the POA documents are formalized. They remain in effect until the documents are revoked.
- Springing Powers of Attorney. Powers of attorney documents can be structured so that authority is only granted when certain conditions are met. For example, powers of attorney can “spring” should the principal become unable to communicate, and the authority might only last for several months. Again, medical powers of attorney are by default “springing,” with the principal’s incapacity serving as the authorizing condition.
Having informal discussions or even expressing written interest to your intended agent does not confer legally enforceable powers of attorney. Powers of attorney can only be granted through the execution of a legal document.
To execute powers of attorney documents, the principal must be of sound mind and a legal adult. The document will also need to be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses cannot be the agent you are granting powers or an employee of your healthcare provider. If the powers being granted include the ability to manage real estate transactions or certain other financial duties, you may need to have the document notarized.
Powers of attorney documents are in effect as soon as they are signed in the presence of witnesses or notarized. You should provide your agent with a copy of the document for their records. For medical powers of attorney, consider providing a copy to your primary health care provider, as well.
We can accurately assess and evaluate your legal matter and provide you with solutions.
Our Santa Maria powers of attorney lawyer at the Law Offices of R. Morgan Holland, L.C. can guide you through the process of appointing agents and validating the necessary documents. We regularly assist families with planning for incapacity and can advise what steps may be necessary to ensure that loved ones are protected should they become unable to communicate.
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