Best Contra Costa Power of Attorney Lawyers
Nobody wants to age. Nobody wants to become frail. Nobody wants to become ill. Nobody wants to become physically or mentally incapacitated. But life happens. As we age, many of us will need to rely on other people to help us with our daily tasks such as depositing money and paying the bills or making sure we have quality meals to eat, clean clothes to wear, and social activities to engage us.
As JS Abrams Law, we help you plan for your old age. One of the legal documents that helps you can gain control of your life is a power of attorney. This form appoints someone to make financial, personal, and medical decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney may be active immediately or may become effective when you become incapacitated. A power of attorney helps ensure if you’re in a serious accident or develop a disease that affects your ability to walk, move, eat, and survive. A power of attorney helps ensure that if you develop dementia or some other cognitive disease that the people you love and trust such as your son or daughter can make decisions for you.
What are the types of Contra Costa powers of attorney?
At JS Abrams Law, our elder care attorneys advise people of all ages including seniors on when and how to create a power of attorney. The three main types of power of attorney documents are:
- A financial power of attorney. This document appoints someone you trust (or an entity such as a bank) to handle your financial transactions including depositing any income, keeping track of your Social Security and retirement benefits, and paying your bills
- A personal power of attorney. This document appoints a person you trust to make daily living decisions on your behalf.
- A medical power of attorney. This document gives the person you choose the power to make many medical decisions for you.
California law uses the terms:
- Principal. This is the person who creates the power of attorney.
- Attorney-in-fact. This is the person you appoint to manage some of your affairs
The California law covers financial and personal powers of attorney. Your lawyer can explain the laws that cover medical powers of attorney. According to state law, financial and power of attorney forms have the following requirements.
- Financial power of attorney. You, the principal, select an attorney-in-fact who can make decisions about your home and personal property – such as paying your mortgage or rent, making deposits, paying any real estate taxes that are due, and even selling your home if you need the funds to move into a nursing home or need to move for other reasons.
- Personal power of attorney. If you have physical problems know or become physically or mentally incapacitated in the future, a personal power of attorney appoints someone (normally a spouse or close relative) to manage your daily activities – to be a hands-on personal assistant.
Our skilled lawyers ensure that you understand the form, that the form protects you, that you sign the power of attorney form correctly (a notary or witnesses are required), and that you date the form.
While most people choose a relative or a friend, you can select a lawyer to be your financial power of attorney. Your lawyer will explain your options.
Why might you need a durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney is a power of attorney with special conditions that permit the person you select to act on your behalf – when you become incapacitated. According to the California statute: a durable power of attorney document must have the following language
- “This [durable] power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal.”
- “This [durable] power of attorney shall become effective upon the incapacity of the principal.”
- “Similar words showing the intent of the principal that the authority conferred shall be exercisable notwithstanding the principal’s subsequent incapacity.”
How does a standard Contra Costa power of attorney differ from a durable Contra Costa power of attorney?
A standard power of attorney begins when you sign it. You must be mentally competent when you sign a standard power of attorney. It’s often used if you are having physical problems.
A durable power of attorney becomes effective at a later time – the time when you become physically or mentally incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney are usually prepared as part of your lawyer’s estate planning strategy – to anticipate that you may develop dementia, cancer, or other illnesses that may prevent you from handling your financial, personal, or medical affairs.
A standard power of attorney ends when you become incapacitated. The durable power of attorney begins when you become incapacitated. You can revoke a standard power of attorney as long as you’re mentally competent.
Both a standard and a durable power of attorney end:
- When you die
- If your spouse is your attorney-in-fact and you divorce him/her
- If the person you choose to act on your behalf dies, has their own disability, or doesn’t want to accept the responsibility
Additional power of attorney concerns your Contra Costa estate lawyer will explain
- The person you choose to be your attorney-in-fact has the right to be paid a reasonable fee for their services.
- The attorney-in-fact is required to act in your best interest.
- A financial attorney-in-fact should keep your finances separate from their finances.
In some cases, a trust may be a better option than a financial power of attorney.
What is a medical power of attorney?
- A medical power of attorney becomes effective when you sign it – provided you’re mentally competent. Otherwise, you need a durable power of attorney. If you don’t have a medical power of attorney, your spouse should be able to make medical decisions for you. Skilled Contra Costa lawyers may recommend that you have a medical power of attorney:
- To obtain medical information. If you’re physically or mentally unable to make medical decisions for yourself, the person you choose in your medical power of attorney can obtain medical providers from your health providers – provided they also have HIPAA authority.
- To make medical decisions in your best interest. Your medical attorney-in-fact can decide which physicians you see, what treatments are necessary, what medical tests you need, and what prescriptions you take. California may limit some medical decisions even if you have a medical power of attorney.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that your medical attorney-in-fact should:
- Not be one of your treating physicians
- Qualify as a medical agent
- Be prepared to make difficult medical decisions include end-of-life decisions
- Be able to advocate for you
Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms for end-of-life medical conditions in Contra Costa
In California, your doctors must respect your end-of-life choices – if you have a signed POLST or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. The POLST form can be used separately or with the DNR form. The POLST form informs emergency medical health providers whether or not to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on your behalf.
The doctor or nurse practitioner/physician assistant must also sight the POLST form. You or your medical power of attorney must also sign the POLST form.
The POLST form differs from a DNR form in that a POLST form does allow for life-sustaining measures such as antibiotics, feeding tubes, intubation, and dialysis.
Other possible end-of-life legal documents include living wills and health care directives.
At JS Abrams Law, our Contra Costa power of attorney lawyers guide you through the power of attorney process. We’ll inform you why you should consider a POA. We’ll prepare the correct legal documents for your financial, personal, and physical needs. To discuss powers of attorney and other elder care matters, call us at 818-330-4515 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.