A conservatorship can be avoided if you plan ahead while you healthy and choose a legal representative to handle your financial affairs and property if you are unable to manage them on your own due to an unexpected injury, illness, temporary or permanent disability, or incapacity. Having a power of attorney in place, allows you to choose who you want to take care of your finances, make other legal decisions and health care decisions for you. It also gives your family and friends the peace of mind knowing that your interests are protected and your wishes are being met. With a power of attorney, you can delegate general powers or specific or limited powers to the person or entity you choose.
The duration of a power of attorney is effective until your death unless you specify an earlier expiration date, revoke the power of attorney, or cancel it in writing, and advise your attorney-in-fact of your decision. It is recommended that you hire an experienced California probate and estate attorney to prepare a power of attorney for you so that your family can avoid having to go to court and establishing a conservatorship if you become incapacitated.
Types of Power of Attorneys
A general power of attorney is typically given to a person allowing them to manage all financial accounts, buy and sell real estate, sign legal documents such as tax returns and settle disputes and claims on your behalf. It can even include filing or defending lawsuits.
A special or limited power of attorney is generally used for a specific purpose such as buying, or selling real estate. It can also have a time limit.
A health care power of attorney lets you chose who you want to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. It may involve deciding what type of medications you are going to be taking, what type of place you will be living in, or who your attendant will be. These are extremely important issues and you do not want them made by the court. A health care power of attorney is not the same as a living will, which directs a health care provider about decisions regarding life support.
A power of attorney and health care power of attorney should be made part of your estate planning decisions. Having these legal documents in place will make it easier for you and your family to make decisions about handing your financial affairs, caring for you and making health decisions in case you are unable to do so on your own behalf. Also, your family will avoid the stress and costs of having to go to court to establish a conservatorship.
If you have additional questions about creating a power of attorney for yourself, feel free to contact me at 858-792-5988.