California Probate Code, Section 4000 through Section 4545, Division 4.5, details the requirements for a California Power of Attorney and includes forms to be used in the state and statements that must be used to ensure a power of attorney is valid. The term power of attorney (POA) refers to the legal authorization by one person (Principal) that allows a designated person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on the first person’s behalf. Learn how a San Jose lawyer for powers of attorney can help.
The powers given to the attorney-in-fact may be broad or very limited and can encompass property, finances, investments, or medical care. The primary types of POAs are financial and healthcare, which can be structured to provide the attorney-in-fact with limited or general powers. A durable power of attorney remains in effect when the principal becomes incapacitated, ill, or disabled and cannot personally make decisions regarding their healthcare or financial decisions.
While a power of attorney can be an essential planning tool, it can be misused, so it is vital that you speak to a knowledgeable San Jose Lawyer for Powers of Attorney before putting a POA into place. At the Steburg Law Firm, we can answer any questions regarding a power of attorney document, then prepare the type of POA you choose.
What Are the Differences Between a Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive?
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to choose an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf if you become terminally ill or incapacitated. It remains in effect if you have already implemented a Durable Power of Attorney. However, consider an Advance Health Care Directive allowing you to state your wishes regarding refusal or acceptance of life-sustaining treatments. In many cases, the Advance Health Care Directive has replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care as the better choice if you want to provide detailed instructions regarding your health care.
What Are the Consequences of Failing to Implement a Power of Attorney Document?
If you do not have a valid power of attorney document and you become ill or incapacitated, the court may step in to determine who will make decisions on your behalf. The process is similar to when an individual dies without a will and, in the same way, can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining for all those involved. The court may take steps to establish a conservatorship or guardianship, appointing another individual to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.
The court could conceivably appoint a family member you would not choose to make these critical decisions on your behalf—you will have no say in this appointment. The individual appointed will have broad authority to act on your behalf. Not only could the court appoint a person you would not want to make those decisions, but they may also place the same person in charge of your medical and financial decisions.
Securing Your Legacy Through a Power of Attorney
A San Jose lawyer for powers of attorney from Steburg Law Firm can help you decide what type of POA you need for your specific circumstances. This document ensures that the person you choose—and trust—will be in charge of the most personal, important decisions on your behalf. You are not giving up your powers to make these decisions; instead, you are granting legal authority to a chosen attorney-in-fact to perform specific tasks. The primary benefits of a POA include:
- You get to choose the person who will make important decisions on your behalf.
- Court involvement in appointing a conservator or guardian can be avoided.
- Implementation of a POA allows you to discuss your wishes with loved ones.
- Your POA documents can change as your needs change. For example, as you age, your concerns may turn to long-term care options, choosing healthcare providers, or applying for government benefits. In addition, if your business requires frequent travel, you can implement a power of attorney document allowing another person to make business decisions on your behalf.
- Having a power of attorney in place ensures everything is clear regarding your wishes. In addition, family members will not have to go to court and debate your intent if you become incapacitated because your wishes, as stated in your POA, are difficult to dispute.
- A comprehensive power of attorney allows your attorney-in-fact to engage professionals for necessary services, discuss banking issues with the bank authorities, or make healthcare arrangements. In addition, most companies will not disclose information or provide services for an incapacitated individual without a POA.
- Having a power of attorney can significantly lessen the burden on family members, providing peace of mind during difficult times.
What Are the Common Concerns and Considerations Regarding a POA?
When properly and thoughtfully prepared, a power of attorney has many more pros than cons. However, there are some considerations to consider before implementing a power of attorney. Choosing your attorney-in-fact should be done with the utmost care since that individual could act in ways you did not intend. There is no direct oversight of the activities of the attorney-in-fact by anyone other than you. If you should become incapacitated, financial abuse and fraud could occur when you fail to choose an absolutely trustworthy attorney-in-fact. Because there is potential abuse or fraud, some third parties—including banks or other financial institutions—may refuse to accept a power of attorney.
How to Select the Best San Jose Lawyer for Powers of Attorney for Your Current Situation and Future Needs
In choosing the best lawyer for your needs, you should consider both the attorneys’ experience and their ability to earn your trust. A highly qualified San Jose lawyer for powers of attorney from Steburg Law Firm will always consider your current situation and future needs when determining what type of POA is right for you. Our services are highly individualized, with a primary objective of achieving your goals and wishes while protecting your loved ones and preserving your legacy.
At Steburg Law Firm, we understand that you have many choices. However, we also believe that once you have spoken to attorneys Anita Steburg and Anam Hasan, your choice will be clear.
Contact the Steburg Law Firm to Protect Your Family and Preserve Your Legacy
Preserving your legacy while ensuring the choices that may one day be made for you are made by a trusted individual who knows what you would choose is an essential function of a power of attorney document. A power of attorney is one piece of a comprehensive estate plan that will provide control and protection over what you’ve worked your entire life to build. Steburg Law Firm can support you throughout the creation of a power of attorney and estate plan, providing all the necessary tools and resources to achieve your objectives. Contact a San Jose lawyer for powers of attorney at Steburg Law Firm today.