Top Los Angeles Power of Attorney Lawyers
A power of attorney is essentially an authorization that you give someone else to handle your financial or personal health affairs if you become ill. There are different types of power of powers of attorney, different people that you may give the authority to, and different reasons for using a power of attorney. There are also rules and formalities that must be completed for each type of power of attorney.
If you do not have a power of attorney and become incapacitated for physical or mental reasons, then someone such as a family member needs to seek approval from the court to be appointed your Guardian to handle your affairs. This can be quite expensive, time-consuming, and contentious.
A financial power of attorney is commonly used to give someone the authority to deposit checks and retirement benefits for you and to pay your bills such as your mortgage or rent. A medical power attorney gives someone you choose the right to make healthcare decisions for you if you become ill
What is a financial power of attorney?
In Los Angeles, a power of attorney allows someone you designate to handle your financial transactions in case you are not able to do so yourself. California law grants adults the right to create a power of attorney. If you are concerned about who can act on your behalf if you become ill or incapable of acting on your behalf, you have the right to choose an “attorney-in-fact” to act on your behalf. The “attorney-in-fact” can be a relative or friend. It doesn’t need to be a lawyer.
California gives you the right to designate a person to handle your financial transactions and make financial decisions about your real and personal property. The designated person can also make personal care decisions such as determining where you live, what meals you eat, providing transportation, arranging recreational and social activities, and other matters.
A “durable power of attorney” according to California law is a power of attorney that’s in writing and contains one of the following statements:
- “This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal.”
- “This power of attorney shall become effective upon the incapacity of the principal.”
- Similar words showing the intent of the principle that the authority conferred shall be exercisable notwithstanding the principal’s subsequent incapacity.”
What reasons should a Los Angeles resident consider when deciding whether to use a financial power of attorney?
Essentially, a power of attorney is useful if you are already ill such as if you’re recovering from an auto accident. A durable power of attorney is useful if you become ill at a date later than when you prepare and sign the power of attorney. Seniors should anticipate they, may fall, may develop dementia, or may develop other physical or mental health disorders.
When does the financial power of attorney begin and end?
Generally, the financial power of attorney starts as soon as you sign the document. You must state that you wanted the power to be durable. Otherwise, the power will end if you become incapacitated.
A financial power of attorney ends:
- When you die.
- When you revoke it – provided you are mentally competent at the time of revocation.
- You obtain a divorce – if your spouse is the attorney in fact.
- Your designee can’t act -for example, if they predecease you. It’s advisable to designate alternate designees for this reason.
Additional financial power of attorney considerations
Your agent (the person you designate) is entitled to a reasonable fee for acting on your behalf unless you state otherwise in the power of attorney. The agent should agree in writing to act as your power of attorney. The power of attorney may not cover every financial contingency. Your Los Angeles power of attorney lawyer can explain what other legal protections you may need.
The power of attorney should be prepared by an experienced lawyer. There are formalities including the need for witnesses. A notary public acknowledgment may be required.
What is a medical power of attorney?
As a general rule, unless you are married, nobody can make medical decisions for you. If you are married, only a spouse can make medical decisions for you. A medical power of attorney, like the financial power of attorney, appoints an agent to act on your behalf. The medical power of attorney takes effect immediately. A durable medical power of attorney takes effect if you become incapacitated.
Medical powers of attorney are used for:
- Obtaining medical information from the health care providers, health care facilities, and hospitals that treat you. Even with the medical power of attorney, you will also need to provide a HIPAA release form to the medical providers.
- Making medical decisions on your behalf. Generally, if you are alert and capable, you will make your own medical decisions. A medical power of attorney designates somebody on your behalf to make medical decisions about your health and medical treatments if you are unable to make them for yourself. Common decisions include which hospital or doctor should treat you, the approval of medical tests, the approval of surgeries, the approval of treatments, and deciding where you live. There are some decisions, by California law, the agent can’t make for you.
The person you choose to as your medical power of attorney agent should, according to the Mayo Clinic, be:
- Someone willing to review medical care and end-of-life issues with you
- Someone other than your doctor or part of your medical care team.
- Someone who meets the California requirements for being a healthcare agent
- Someone you trust to respect your wishes
- Capable of being an advocate for you
POLST forms for end-of-life medical conditions
California requires that physicians honor your end-of-life requests if you have completed a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. The POLST form informs health providers and emergency medical personnel whether they should use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on your behalf if there is a medical emergency. The POLST form is used either instead of or with a DNR form.
You may be asked to sign a POLST form if you enter a hospital, nursing home, or receive hospice care. The form must be signed by a physician or nurse practitioner/physician assistance supervised by a physician – and by you or the person designated in your medical power of attorney. Unlike a DNR form, a POLST form does allow for life-sustaining measures such as feeding tubes, antibiotics, dialysis, or intubation.
Your Los Angeles lawyer will also advise you about how living wills and health care directives can be used in California to make end-of-life decisions for you.
Contact our Los Angeles Power of Attorney Attorneys Today
At JS Abrams Law, our Los Angeles elder care attorneys explain and prepare both financial and medical powers of attorneys – and other related documents. Call us at 818-330-4515 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment to discuss your elder care concerns.
If you’re seeing a Los Angeles Power of Attorney law firm to help you guide the way schedule your consultation today by calling JS Abrams Law (818) 330-4515.
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