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What is a POA and Who is Entitled to One?

What is a POA and Who is Entitled to One?

While many estate planning documents focus on what becomes of your property after you die, other critical documents provide for who should be responsible for your healthcare decisions, property, assets, and obligations when you are alive but unable to do it for yourself.

How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

To designate someone to handle these types of responsibilities, you will want to have a power of attorney. Appointing a power of attorney allows someone other than yourself to make important decisions on your behalf, including financial and medical decisions for you.

Unfortunately, without a power of attorney, your family may be left to have the court appoint someone to handle these matters for you. Having a power of attorney designated ensures that you make this decision for yourself and elect someone you can have trust and confidence in.

What Rights Will Your Power of Attorney Have?

Depending on the type of power of attorney, this person, otherwise known as your agent, can have the right to make decisions regarding

And other matters as they may arise.

Financial Power of Attorney

You can have more than one individual handle different responsibilities with different powers of attorney. A financial power of attorney will delegate responsibility for financial matters to your agent. In California, there are three types of financial powers of attorney:

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney will name an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. In California, your agent will have the authority to make decisions concerning your healthcare, medical treatment, and any end-of-life decisions, and the power of attorney will become part of your advance healthcare directive.

More than one person can have power of attorney, but naming more than one agent can create some confusion, especially with sensitive medical decisions. One exception to this, however, is when a couple is elderly and has named the other spouse as their agent. In this case, it is often a good idea to have an alternate agent to step in if necessary.

Who Should You Name as Your Agent?

Because your agent has incredible responsibility toward you, choosing the right individual to act as your agent is critical.

Many people will select a spouse, child, another relative, or close friend, but you may name anyone you want as your agent. It is important to remember, however, that it is not just about your connection to that person and their adherence to your wishes but their ability to handle important matters if you are unable to do it.

Whether your agent will be working under a medical power of attorney or a financial one, you will want to designate someone who

Getting Critical Legal Advice

Before signing a power of attorney, it is helpful to get the guidance of a skilled estate planning attorney to discuss your needs and the responsibilities and rights of your agent.

At the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai, our Orange County estate planning lawyers will discuss all these considerations to ensure that your power of attorney is comprehensive and that you have made the right decision regarding your agent. To schedule a consultation to discuss any of your estate planning questions, call us at (714) 694-1200 or contact us online.