A power of attorney allows you to legally authorize others to handle your financial and healthcare affairs if you become incapacitated. It is best to put a power of attorney in place for peace of mind, even if you never need it. An experienced trusts and estates attorney could help you do so.
If you neglect to create this document and cannot care for yourself, the court will step in and appoint a Conservator to make your decisions. Unfortunately, this process is expensive and takes time. To avoid potential conflict in the future, speak with an Irvine power of attorney lawyer now.
California’s Financial Power of Attorney
California permits adults to designate an ‘attorney-in-fact’ to handle their financial transactions should they become ill. The designee can be a friend or relative and does not have to be an attorney. This arrangement may be beneficial if someone was involved in an accident and needs help with financial matters during recovery.
However, anticipating a later accident or decline in mental function, it is best to draft a durable power of attorney, which will usually take effect if a person becomes incapacitated.
A durable power of attorney allows a designated person to control aspects beyond banking and bill-paying. For example, the ‘attorney-in-fact’ can make decisions about the disposition of real estate, personal property, and living arrangements. A knowledgeable power of attorney lawyer in Irvine could draft a comprehensive document and ensure it serves its desired purpose.
Drafting a Medical Power of Attorney in Irvine
A medical power of attorney is an opportunity for a person to appoint a friend or relative who can make decisions on their behalf. Like the durable power of attorney, the arrangement begins when signed and generally will take effect if a person becomes incapacitated, similarly to a medical power of attorney that also takes effect upon incapacitation.
A medical power of attorney covers many aspects of a person’s healthcare decisions. Personal representatives can obtain medical records from physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare centers. Under California law, designees seeking records must include a HIPAA release with their request.
Representatives also make medical decisions when people cannot advocate for themselves. These decisions could include authorizing surgery a physician recommends or turning down risky treatment the appointee knows the patient did not want. An experienced attorney in Irvine could draft a person’s financial and medical powers of attorney to ensure the documents comply with California law.
Who Should Serve as Power of Attorney?
Not all friends and family members will want to take on the challenging role of becoming a loved one’s medical power of attorney. The Mayo Clinic recommends that people discuss the role with the person they want to represent them. Other recommendations include:
- Finding a person open to talking about options for medical care and end-of-life decisions so they are aware of the designator’s wishes
- Refraining from designating a physician
- Choosing a person who meets California criteria, such as the minimum age requirement of 18
- Appointing a trustworthy person who will advocate for the patient and carry out known directives
Our trusted Irvine attorneys can help someone with the process of appointing a POA.
Let Our Irvine Legal Team Provide You With a Power of Attorney
Although thinking about drafting a power of attorney can be overwhelming, this document will benefit you in the long run. Durable powers of attorney permit you to designate someone to handle your banking, pay your bills, and dispose of or acquire property in your name if you become incapacitated. Medical powers of attorney permit you to designate someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot.
You cannot predict if a catastrophe will render you incapable of making financial and medical decisions, but you can designate a friend or relative to help you if you need it. An Irvine power of attorney lawyer is here to help. Contact us today.