Palm Springs Law Blog

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Reasons to Put a Power of Attorney in Place

If you are concerned about a family member or loved one being unable to make responsible and healthy decisions for themselves, you may be wondering if there’s a legal way to allow another individual to guide their actions.

Likewise, if you’re concerned that you may at some point be subject to illness or injury, you may want to preemptively appoint an individual to make decisions for you, should the worst occur.

This is where a power of attorney (POA) comes in. There are many reasons why an individual might need to obtain control of another person’s assets and decisions, and there are also legal ways to achieve this.

Even if you are already making decisions for your family member or loved one, or a loved one is making decisions for you, there are many benefits to making the situation legally sound with a power of attorney authorization.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal authorization that allows one person to act on behalf of and make decisions for another person. The person who acts on another’s behalf is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, while the person on whose behalf they are acting is known as the principal.

The purpose of a POA is to ensure that if an individual becomes incapacitated as a result of illness, injury, or disability, there is another trusted individual who is able to make decisions for them.

Reasons to Put a POA in Place

There are two kinds of POAs: durable and non-durable. A non-durable POA allows the agent to make decisions for the principal up until the point that they are declared incapacitated. A durable POA allows the agent to continue making decisions for the principal even after they are declared incapacitated. Either option is beneficial.

It’s also possible to designate an individual to act as your POA for financial decisions, and to designate a different individual to act as your POA for healthcare decisions. You can also choose to have a single individual fulfill both roles. This versatility can provide additional peace of mind that your best interests are protected at all times.

Additionally, having a POA in place makes it possible for you to circumvent conservatorship proceedings, should you become incapacitated.

You’ll also be able to dictate which individual you trust to make decisions for you, saving your family and friends from having to petition the court to act as your guardian or conservator — a process that can be costly.

Putting a POA in place ensures that a range of important tasks will be taken care of by someone you trust as well. These essential matters can include:

  • Applying for public benefits, such as Medi-Cal
  • Accessing your financial accounts in order to pay housing and healthcare bills
  • Collecting on your debts
  • Managing your property or properties
  • Filing your taxes
  • Directing your medical care
  • Managing your investments

Without appointing a trusted designated POA, you may end up vulnerable to the consequences of decisions that you wouldn’t have made for yourself, had you been able to.

Protect Yourself or a Loved One with a Power of Attorney

Putting a power of attorney in place can ensure a responsible person you trust will be making key decisions for you or a loved one, should the unfortunate happen. In any case, the best way to ensure that your POA is rock-solid is to obtain the aid of an experienced POA lawyer.

If you live in Palm Springs, CA, or the surrounding area, look no further than Heritage Legal, PC. Our dedicated legal team can help you determine whether a POA is right for your situation. Contact us to speak to an estate planning attorney who cares today.

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