What is a power of attorney in estate planning?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is critical for all adults, but you may not realize that this goes far beyond just saying who gets what assets when you die. A major component of estate planning is giving a trusted individual the legal ability to make decisions for you if there comes a time when you can’t.

Powers of attorney (POAs) go into effect when you become unable to make decisions for yourself. You must choose individuals whom you know will abide by your wishes and act responsibly. The same person can be your financial and health care POA, or you can choose someone different for each area.

Power of attorney for health care

This gives someone the legal ability to make health care decisions for you. They work closely with your medical team to ensure they’re complying with your wishes. The person you name should understand what you want and be willing to be firm when relaying decisions to the medical team.

An important estate plan component that goes hand-in-hand with the health care POA is the advance directive. This document is a written account of the medical treatments you’re willing to accept and those you aren’t willing to in order to prolong your life.

Power of attorney for finances

This is known by other names as well, such as springing durable POA. It gives someone the legal ability to take care money matters for you. This includes paying bills, selling or purchasing assets and taking care of anything else related to finances that you choose. The power to take care of these matters ends when you pass away because those duties transfer to the executor of the estate.

Remember that POAs are only one component in the estate plan. You also have to consider other facets, including the will and trusts that are used to pass down assets to your loved ones. Having experienced estate planning guidance can help you make the best choices for you and ensure that they’re codified in accordance with California law.