Powers of Attorney

While many people know the importance of creating a solid estate plan for asset distribution after death, fewer understand how critical it is to prepare for their own incapacity. Whether due to advanced age, an accident, or illness, there may come a time in your life when you are limited in how you can manage your property. Still, despite a medical condition that renders you unable to make decisions, your assets need management to avoid waste and deterioration. Our team at the Law Office of Kristina M. Reed is experienced in estate planning strategies that specifically address such a situation, including power of attorney.

How Powers of Attorney Work

Under state law, you can create a California General Durable Power of Attorney that becomes effective if you are unable manage your own financial affairs. You may be incapable of making responsible decisions regarding your real and personal property if:

  • You are temporarily incapacitated due to an illness or accident-related injury;
  • You are incapacitated permanently because of a medical condition or advanced age; or,
  • Your ability to handle financial matters is affected by some other incident.

Through a California General Durable Power of Attorney, you can appoint an agent to manage your real and personal property according to the intentions you state within the document. Your agent can act on your behalf to:

  • Sell, rent, and collect rent on real estate;
  • Pay creditors and utilities;
  • Manage your investment and retirement accounts;
  • Handle insurance matters for your real and personal property; and,
  • Take on any management activities you authorize within the document.

Note that you have complete control over which assets you put in your agent’s hands via the California General Durable Power of Attorney. You can also incorporate specific instructions regarding different pieces of property, essentially creating a custom-tailored roadmap for how your assets are managed during your period of incapacity.

Benefits of Executing Powers of Attorney

The advantages of creating a power of attorney are perhaps best illustrated by showing what happens when you do not have one. If you are experiencing incapacity for any reason, you will still have legal rights and responsibilities. Though jointly held assets can be managed by other owners, there must be someone with legal authority to act with respect to property you hold in your name. In the absence of a California General Durable Power of Attorney, the only other option is the guardianship process:

  • An interested party files a petition for guardianship. The petition may be granted if the court finds the petitioner to be ready, able, and willing to act.
  • There may be multiple, competing guardianship petitions, which requires a judge to conduct a hearing to determine which person is the best fit to act as guardian.
  • Finally, the court will issue an appointment for guardianship.

As you may expect, the process can take weeks or even months, during which time your assets are subject to waste, foreclosure, or other adverse implications. With a power of attorney, your agent can present the paperwork and immediately take control of your property.

Schedule a Consultation with Sacramento, CA Powers of Attorney Lawyer

To hear more about the function and benefits of a power of attorney, please contact the Law Office of Kristina M. Reed by calling 916-492-6033. We can set up an appointment to review your circumstances at our Sacramento, CA location.

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