power of attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal device that is used to give someone the power to act on your behalf if you are unable to.  For example, if you have Alzheimer’s disease, there is a possibility that you will get to the point where it is no longer possible for you to make decisions. If a power of attorney (POA) is in place, this hand-selected person would step in for you. Without a power of attorney in place, the courts will decide who that person will be and then they will become your legal guardian. This is an important decision and I’m sure you will agree that you are in a much better position than the government is to decide who will speak for you.

The POA goes into effect the moment you sign it.  But, it’s equally important to note that a power of attorney will expire when you decide it will.

When you talk to your estate planning lawyer in Newport Beach, he or she will give you the options for termination. One option is to stipulate a certain termination date.  For example, military personnel may choose to set up a power of attorney only for the period that they are deployed.

Without any such specific designation, a POA terminates upon the grantor’s death. This means that the person that you selected as your power of attorney would not be able to handle any financial matters on your behalf when you pass away.  If you want to select the person that handles your affairs after you pass, you’ll need to name them the executor of your estate.

You can also cancel or revoke a POA at any time that you choose to. You can do so by destroying the original document and preparing a new one, or by preparing a revocation document that informs everyone involved that the POA is no longer valid.

Giving someone control over your financial matters should be well thought out. It’s best to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney in Newport Beach who can fully explain your options and help you select the one that works best for you.

If you would like to learn more about setting up a power of attorney, give our Newport Beach estate lawyers a call at (949) 260-1400.