A power of attorney is a legally binding document that assigns another individual the right to make choices on your behalf. These documents are only used in certain circumstances—typically when a person becomes incapacitated and can no longer make important decisions by themselves.
Local courts value individual decision-making, which is why the requirements for a power of attorney are strictly enforced. If you are planning for the future and want your health decisions in the hands of a person you trust, a seasoned estate planning attorney could help you develop a power of attorney. Let an Orange County power of attorney lawyer develop a document that will withstand scrutiny.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney—often referred to as a POA—is a form of legally binding document that gives a third party the power to make decisions on behalf of the document’s creator. That third party is considered the “attorney-in-fact.” There are different types of powers of attorney, and an Orange County lawyer could help with selecting the appropriate option.
Durable vs. Non-Durable POA
It is important to distinguish whether a power of attorney is durable or non-durable. A durable power of attorney is indefinite. In other words, the attorney-in-fact retains the right to make decisions for as long as the creator of the POA is incapacitated.
There are additional restrictions on non-durable powers of attorney. Often, these include time limits that lead to the expiration of the POA or the responsibilities associated with it.
Power of Attorney Requirements in Orange County
In order for a power of attorney to take effect, it must meet the requirements set out by state law. On the surface, these requirements are straightforward. However, the failure to comply with any part of the could render a power of attorney invalid.
First, a power of attorney must be in writing. The person creating this document must not only sign the document, but they must also do so in front of a notary public. If a notary public is not present, there must be two independent witnesses present that can sign off. These witnesses could be required to testify if a challenge to the POA ever arises. The failure to comply with these requirements could result in the rejection of a proposed power of attorney by the courts.
Additionally, both parties involved must be adults of sound mind. That includes both the person creating the power of attorney as well as the attorney-in-fact they intend to appoint. This means not only must they be at least 18 years of age, but they must also be competent to enter into a legally binding agreement.
A local attorney could help ensure a power of attorney meets all these requirements.
Contact an Orange County POA Attorney Today
The decision to create a power of attorney is an important one. While a POA can provide you with important protection when you are unable to make important decisions, it also can dramatically reduce your rights.
If you are considering creating a POA, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Call an Orange County power of attorney lawyer today to schedule a consultation.