When you administer an estate in California, you may think that your job starts once your loved one has died. Sometimes, though, your duties may start before your loved one's death if you have been granted power of attorney.
You are typically granted power of attorney if your loved one is incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions. According to the National Caregivers Library, you generally choose what kind of medical treatments this person will receive and decide how to handle this person's finances. Some people may choose to grant power of attorney to more than one person. In this situation, you may only make financial decisions while another person handles all of the medical decisions.
You may automatically assume that you will have power of attorney for an older loved one, such as a parent or aunt. People may incur an injury that incapacitates them at any age, though. This means that a loved one may decide to grant you power of attorney and then change his or her mind years later. In this situation, this loved one usually need to tell you about any changes he or she makes so you always have the most current information.
When you have power of attorney, you may sometimes want to make decisions that you think will be best for your loved one. However, because you are signing documents and making choices in your loved one's name, your actions are actually considered to be the actions of your loved one. Because of this, it is important to ensure you make decisions that match his or her wishes.
This information is intended to educate. It should not be used in place of legal advice.