You can assign power of attorney (POA) to the person of your choice for a number of reasons. Whether you want someone to be able to make financial, medical, or other decisions for you, there may be a time when designating a POA becomes necessary. Here are a couple of reasons to consider this option.
- It’s not automatic – Some people have the mistaken idea that your mate can automatically make decisions for you regarding finances and health, but this is not the case. For example, if you become incapacitated, bank accounts that do not have your spouse on the account with you would no longer be accessible. Or, if you the sole owner of a vehicle or property, your mate would not be able to sell it without your consent. You have to assign a POA for anyone else to be able to handle these matters on your behalf.
- It offers convenience if you become incapacitated – You can assign a POA to handle day to day expenses, property sale, investments, mortgage payments, hiring of legal counsel, tax payments, and the like. As you get older, you may want a trusted friend or family member helping with these matters, so nothing slips through the cracks. It can be of even greater benefit if you become suddenly incapacitated.
Executing POA in California
If you need help designating a power of attorney, your estate planning lawyer can help. Contact Petrov Law Firm today to get in touch with experienced estate planning attorneys in San Diego. Just call 619.344.0360 to get started.Read More
A part of your estate plan may involve setting up a trustworthy family member with power of attorney. What is power of attorney? Does your spouse automatically play this role? Let’s explain this legal process.
Power of Attorney Defined
When you give someone power of attorney, it means that you have signed a legal document giving them the ability to make certain decisions or the authority to sign particular documents for you. You can give one person complete power of attorney, which would let them do everything from signing your checks to selling your property. You can also give someonf power of attorney to carry out a particular task or for a predetermined period of time.
Can’t Your Spouse Do This for You Anyway?
Actually, no. While you are alive, your spouse doesn’t have control over your finances. If you share a bank account, of course, you can both make deposits or withdrawals and sign checks. But if you have a separate bank account, your mate would not have access. The same is true with property that is in your name alone and that you do not share ownership of. No one has power of attorney for you unless you legally grant it.
Assistance in Executing Power of Attorney
If you need to give someone power of attorney, even if it is just for a limited time or specific event – such as having a person sell a piece of property on your behalf while you are out of the county – the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. Call 619.344.0360 today to schedule an appointment.Read More
Sometimes our clients mistakenly believe that their spouse automatically has power of attorney. The answer to the question in our title is no, but it is important to understand why this is the case and how to correct the problem.
What Is Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney refers to a legal document that allows someone else to make decisions or sign legal documents on your behalf. For example, you may execute a power of attorney to allow someone else to sell your home without you present, to give a person access to your brokerage accounts while you are traveling abroad, or to make medical decisions for you in a situation where you are unconscious or otherwise unable to make your own choices.
When a power of attorney is executed, you determine the extent of responsibility given to the person. For example, in the scenarios noted above, you may decide that a different person will be responsible for making financial decisions than the person who is designated to make medical decisions.
Why the Confusion?
In short, people think their mate has power of attorney since many documents may already be in the names of both individuals. For example, you may both be able to write checks and make deposits on your bank account, but that is because both of you are named to the account. Your home may automatically pass to your mate if you die, but that may be because both names are on the deed.
Executing a Power of Attorney in San Diego
If you need to execute a document to give power of attorney to an individual, regardless of the scope or the timeframe, Petrov Law Firm can help. Our San Diego, Chula Vista, and North County offices are conveniently located for our southern California clients. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule an appointment.Read More
The short answer is no, but here is the reason why. A power of attorney is a document that allows you to name an agent to take financial, legal, or medical actions on your behalf (depending on the type of document that you are executing). Here are a few things your agent may do for you:
- Sell your house
- Access your brokerage accounts
- Decide whether you will accept a medical treatment
Of course, a power of attorney may not approve your agent to do all of those things. You control how much authority the agent has when you execute a power of attorney. You may execute a document that allows an agent to care for one financial or legal matter and that is all.
Your spouse only has control of assets that you share or that you have given your spouse power of attorney over. Here are some examples:
- You may give your spouse the judgment call of when to take you off of life support equipment.
- Your spouse can access a bank account that is in both of your names.
- You can make your spouse a trustee, beneficiary, executor of your will, or appoint him or her to any other number of positions.
Executing a Power of Attorney in California
So being married to you or even having a power of attorney document signed doesn’t give any one person control over all aspects of your life. You want your estate plan to clearly outline who gets control of what in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions for a time. Petrov Law Firm can help you to assign agents to care for necessary matters while giving you the ability to regain control should you change your mind about an agent or recover from an incapacitating ailment. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with estate planning is thinking that all estate planning is about is what happens when you die. Your estate plan should include contingency plans for during your lifetime. Here’s something many people miss, and a quick fix for it.
Planning for Incapacitation
It’s a scenario we forget to plan for because we don’t like to think about it. What if you ever become mentally incapacitated during your lifetime? It could be due to an accident or illness that leaves you unconscious for a period of time or simply due to the mental degradation that sometimes accompanies old age. But it raises the question: Who will make financial decisions for you if you are no longer of sound mind to do so yourself?
Naming a power of attorney in your estate plan is the perfect way to ensure the courts don’t end up having to appoint a conservatorship to care for things for you. You get to select someone you trust to carry out your wishes rather than their own. And you don’t have to worry about undue influence affecting you if your judgment ever becomes less than sound. This can prevent your estate from becoming tied up in a long legal battle.
Planning for the Future in Southern California
From selecting a power of attorney to setting up revocable living trusts, Petrov Law Firm can help you select the estate planning options that are best for you. Speak to one of our estate planning attorneys to learn more. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
Some people are willing to take the chance that everything will pass to their spouse and kids. Others are content to draw up a will and let the courts have their part in matters. But if you want your family to receive your estate with an increased degree of certainty and without the courts causing delays and expenses, there are two things you need to include in your estate planning.
- Trusts – A trust can allow your heirs to skip probate. You can manage the trust while you are alive and appoint a successor trustee to carry out your wishes and disseminate the trust in your absence. It gives you the flexibility you need while you are alive and provides your beneficiaries with the convenience of fewer court fees and the excessive time it may take to receive funds if probate is involved.
- Power of Attorney – Whether you are appointing a healthcare agent to make medical decisions should you become incapacitated or a power of attorney to make financial decisions, this is a great way to block courts from stepping in and appointing a conservatorship to take care of matters for you. You can outline your wishes in advance and appoint someone you trust to carry out those wishes as opposed to whomever the court may grant guardianship to.
Smart Estate Planning in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm offers smart estate planning options to residents of San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you are ready to take control of your future rather than leaving it in the hands of the court system, give us a call today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Assigning a durable power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. This is especially true if you ever become incapacitated for a time and do not have either the physical or mental ability to care for your own finances. Here are 6 vital things a power of attorney can take care of for you should you become temporarily incapacitated.
- Bank Accounts – If you are married, your mate is probably on all of your bank accounts. But if he or she usually allows you to take care of the financials for the family, then it is important to have a fiscally responsible person in charge of these accounts and to move around money as needed.
- Loans – A power of attorney (POA) can pay down your loans by either making minimum payments or paying them off completely depending on what is best for the estate in the current financial market.
- Bills – Your POA can also take care of the day to day bills such as utilities, credit cards, insurance, and the like. Much of this may be on an automatic payment system, but for things that are not, it is important to have someone who knows what is due and how it is paid.
- Taxes – This is one of the most complicated aspects of financial responsibilities, so your POA needs to be someone you can trust to be honest and to put in the work to ensure that you don’t miss out on things that could have been written off.
- Real Estate – Whether you have land that is being leased, renovated, or lived in, someone needs to manage all of your properties at all times. If that is usually something you do yourself, you need a POA who can handle it. If you have a property management service, then the POA needs to be in touch with them as regularly as you would have been.
- Lawsuits – Any pending lawsuits for which you may be a plaintiff or defendant would now rest on the shoulders of your POA.
Preparing Your Estate Plan in California
If you live in or near the California area, Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you set up or review your estate plan. Appointing a power of attorney is just one element in this process. To get started, call us at 619-344-0360.Read More
Often abbreviated as DPA, a durable power of attorney is a vital component in your estate planning. This document appoints an agent to make decisions for you should you become incapacitated. What does the document contain and what exactly is your power of attorney responsible for?
What a Durable Power of Attorney Should Outline
The primary purpose of this document is to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you. A separate document should be executed to appoint a person to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
But how can you be sure that your power of attorney will treat financial matters in the way you would want? And what qualifies as you being incapacitated? There is no need to leave these matters to chance or opinion. You can include descriptions in the document regarding what you consider incapacitation, whether it be literal unconsciousness or mental degradation that leads to senility or dementia.
You can also provide instructions for your power of attorney as to how your financial matters should be handled. While it should be a responsible person, you also want it to be someone who will understand your instructions and be willing to carry them out.
Help in Preparing your Durable Power of Attorney and Other Estate Planning Documents
If you are interested in setting up a durable power of attorney to protect your estate should you become incapacitated, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. We pride ourselves on putting the best interests of our clients first. So if you want the personal attention you deserve from experienced and talented attorneys in the state of California, call 619-344-0360 to get started.Read More
What is a conservatorship? How could it potentially protect you from undue influence regarding financial matters and end of life decisions? Let’s look at this legal way to protect your decisions even if you should become unable to make those decisions for yourself later in life, or even just for a limited period of time.
What Is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a final line of defense against having financial or medical decisions made without a person’s ability to consent. While proper estate planning can provide a power of attorney to make these decisions, a conservatorship involves the probate court assigning someone to make valid decisions on a person’s behalf. There are 3 types of probate conservatorships.
- A general conservatorship involves the court giving a person the legal ability to care for the personal decisions of another, including financial decisions.
- A limited conservatorship is usually only set up in the case of an adult who is developmentally disabled and needs some assistance in decision making.
- Under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a conservatorship can be set up to assist someone who becomes so gravely disabled they can no longer provide their own basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing.
In the case of a person trying to influence someone who has become mentally incapacitated to make financial decisions that are different from what a will or medical directive may have originally dictated while the individual was of sound mind, a conservatorship may provide a neutral party to maintain the wishes a person expressed in the past.
A Better Way to Ensure Your Decision Remain Yours
The best thing to do is to have your estate planning properly prepared now. Everything from how your assets are to be divided to what you want your funeral to be like should be part of your estate planning. Appointing a power of attorney to make financial decisions or appointing a healthcare agent to uphold your medical decisions can also make things easier on family members who may have differing opinions on how to care for matters if you cannot do so yourself for one reason or another. To learn more, contact Petrov Law Firm today by calling 619-344-0360.Read More
There are two important and separate matters that are handled by proper estate planning and the appointment of a power of attorney. They are matters pertaining to your financial assets and matters dealing with your health care. In some cases, you may want a different person to have power of attorney for each circumstance. In other cases, the same person may act as power of attorney for everything. Here are a few things to consider.
Power of Attorney for Financial and Health Decisions
Should decisions about your health or finances need to be made while you are unconscious or no longer of sound mind, appointing a power of attorney who has specific instructions on how to carry out your directives can help to ensure that matters are still handled as you would want them to be, even if you can’t give the orders for yourself.
However, you may not always want the same person making all of these decisions. For example, you may want your wife to make financial decisions in your absence but your son to make medical decisions or vice versa. You may even have certain decisions that you want to leave to a party that is not as emotionally tied to you. In other situations, you may have one trusted friend or relative who can handle all of your decision-making as a POA.
San Diego Residents Planning for Financial and Health Care POAs
If you are a California resident, especially if you live in the San Diego area, and are looking to designate a power of attorney for health or financial matters, contact the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm today. We can help you to make informed decisions that will lead to your wishes being carried out as closely as possible. To learn more, call 619-344-0360.Read More