California Power of Attorney

Is a California power of attorney part of your estate plan? Most of us know the many uses of power of attorneys in everyday life, like a special vehicle power of attorney for allowing another person to sell a car for you. Maybe you used a general power of attorney the last time you left the country. Did you leave someone in charge of your financial affairs in case an emergency arose?

Has your California estate planning attorney recommended the use of two separate power of attorneys that would be used only in the case of an emergency or a serious medical illness? In the event of an accident, or an illness, that leaves you mentally incapacitated, a person you know and trust should be able to immediately step in and make decisions for you. Your health power of attorney and your financial power of attorney are documents you hope you never have to use, but important none the less.

Most power of attorneys become void if your are declared mentally incapable of making decisions. For your estate plan, the medical and financial power of attorneys need to be "durable". These are a special type of power of attorney that only become effective if you are declared mentally unsound.

In California, a power of attorney designed to take effect only when you are mentally incapacitated, is called a springing durable power of attorney. Also in California, if your spouse is your agent, and you get a divorce, your power of attorney is automatically void. An agent is the term used for the person you assign to handle your affairs and make decisions for you. Chances are you will be going over many financial documents at the time of a divorce, don't neglect your California durable power of attorneys.

Your medical document is often called a durable power of attorney for health care. In this document you give your agent the right to make medical decisions for you. You may also want to list a set of special instructions concerning your health care. A health care declaration is often used with a power of attorney form for more detailed directions to your health care providers and your agent. Your agent is bound to follow your directions and oversee all health care providers, keeping your wishes a priority.

If you are currently working with an estate attorney these documents can likely be drafted for you at a reasonable cost. The forms are easy and do not usually require the help of a lawyer. You should be able to find all of your California power of attorney forms at Legal Zoom.

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