The powers of attorney are an important part of your estate plan. There are health care powers of attorney and fiduciary powers of attorney, but most often they are one in the same. In the case that you become physically incapacitated in some way or you are unable to make decisions about your health care, having a power of attorney named who knows your wishes will make things much easier for everyone involved. If you happen to be unable to care for your affairs and don’t have a conservator named in an estate plan, then the courts may appoint whomever they deem appropriate. Experts also refer to this person as your “agent”, and he or she may have the legal right to take any action permitted in your estate plan.
Many people choose to designate a loved one as their agent to act on their behalf and ensure their wishes are carried out. Most often, this is the spouse or the adult children. Experts also suggest to either have co-agents appointed or have several successors in the case that one is unable to fill the role when and if someone needs them. You should choose someone who you trust to carry out your wishes.
An agent with power of attorney has the responsibility to manage your day to day financial affairs as well as implement your estate plan. They can amend trusts that already exist and in some jurisdictions may even create trusts for you. They can transfer assets to your trusts, distribute assets, give gifts on your behalf and more. All of these duties are powers that you may give or not give to your agent when you appoint them.
It is important to hire an experienced attorney to make sure to work out all of the details when creating your estate plan. A great lawyer will help you know whether or not you need to renew it, what happens if you move out of state, and more. Contact The Sonoma County Lawyer Charles Stark at 707-527-9900 or use our online contact form.