When it comes to estate planning and other end-of-life matters, the kind of paperwork you have in place is of the utmost importance. These documents, such as wills and trusts, outline your wishes in the event of your death or incapacitation. However, there are many different forms that are available for those looking for estate planning in the Bay Area, and it can be hard to understand how they all work. One of the more common legal documents is known as the “power of attorney,” or POA, and this designation carries many more implications and responsibilities than people may realize. If you are looking into planning your estate, check out our frequently asked questions about this critical contract:
Q: What is a power of attorney?
A: Basically speaking, this is a legal document that gives someone that you choose power to act on your behalf.
Q: What is the difference between “durable” and “nondurable” powers of attorney?
A: A durable POA, the most common form, endures even if you are incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions. A nondurable POA automatically ends if you become mentally incapacitated.
Q: Do I still need a will if I have a durable power of attorney?
A: Yes! The durable power of attorney is only valid while you are alive, and does not cover what happens after you pass, like a will does.
Q: What kind of responsibilities can I grant with a POA?
A: You may designate an individual to handle either your medical or financial decisions, or both. These are called “medical powers of attorney,” and “financial powers of attorney,” respectively, although you may appoint the same person to handle both, such as a spouse.
Q: To whom can I give the power of attorney?
A: Legally, you are allowed to name any competent adult to act on your behalf, however it is strongly advised that you choose someone that you trust completely to honor your wishes and handle your decisions responsibly.
Q: Can I revoke or change my POA once I’ve signed it?
A: Yes, you are able to modify or revoke your power of attorney document at nearly any time. Your Emeryville estate planning lawyer should be able to tell you more about this.
When you want legal advice that you can trust, about how to set up a power of attorney, contact the law office of Thomas C. Tagliarini today. Ask for your free consultation to get started!