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Preparing for the future through power of attorney documents

There may be a day when, for one reason or another, you are unable to make your own decisions when it comes to important things like your finances and personal care. However, there are ways you can control what would happen in such situations. Specifically, you can prepare for this possibility by picking someone to make decisions for you. You can do this by granting this person power of attorney. How do you grant someone this?

Power of attorney documents

A power of attorney document allows you to give decision-making authority to another. In such a document, you name who will be granted this authority. Also, through the terms of the document, you can control various things about the authority granted to this person, such as:

  • What areas of decision-making, like personal care and finances, it covers
  • How broad or narrow the person’s decision-making authority will be in these areas
  • Whether the authority will stay active if you become incapacitated
  • Whether the authority will only come into force if a specific triggering event occurs
  • Whether there will be a set termination date for the authority

So, when it comes to power of attorney documents, terms matter greatly.

What needs to happen to make a power of attorney document enforceable?

In order for a power attorney document to be legally enforceable, you need to meet certain requirements. Here in California, there are three main requirements:

  • Signature: You have to either sign the document yourself or direct another person to sign it for you in your presence.
  • Date: The document must have the date of execution on it.
  • Witnesses: You can meet the witness requirement in two different ways. You could have two individuals witness your signing or acknowledgement of the document, and then sign the document themselves. These individuals have to be adults and neither of them can be the person you are granting power of attorney. The other option is to acknowledge the document before a notary public.

Making sure your power of attorney document is right for you

Power of attorney documents can be a very important aspect of preparing for the future and unexpected events, such as possible future incapacity. When you form a power of attorney document, it is critical for it to be well-tailored to your needs and for it to meet the enforceability requirements. So, when forming such a document, seeking out guidance on how to ensure your specific goals for the document are achieved can be wise.

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