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Power of attorney selection not a casual decision

Readers will likely be venturing some immediate and varied responses to one estate planning article's spotlighting of "one of the most important decisions you'll make when you're planning your estate."

Is it the crafting of a will? Trust creation? Making determinations concerning inheritances and beneficiary designations? Business succession planning regarding a family-owned company?

Those matters can all be centrally important, of course. The bottom line with estate planning is that multiple concerns needing addressing can arise early in the planning process.

Like power of attorney selection, which is what it underscored in the above-cited article. That piece duly notes that individuals selected to act on behalf of planners in specified situations are often critically important actors that play a key role in estate affairs.

The various types of power of attorney in California

Powers of attorney are each linked to a specific purpose, the result being that there are several types of POAs to consider. Here are the four primary POA classifications:

  • General
  • Limited
  • Medical
  • Durable

A general POA can make for an encompassing entitlement to act; agents often handle bank accounts, sell property, files taxes and oversee legal paperwork.

A limited POA is quite different, with the power to act on behalf of a principal applying only to a specifically designated matter.

Medical POAs have become increasingly important in recent years. A health care power of attorney allows an agent to speak for a principal regarding key health matters when that individual lacks the capacity to do so.

Finally, a durable POA commonly applies to financial affairs, enabling an agent to make key estate-linked decisions in that realm. Durable POAs can also apply to medical matters.

The above article notes a proven estate planning attorney's empathy concerning "just how hard it can be to choose the right POA." An experienced legal professional can provide guidance on POA selection and help ensure that a client makes a proper choice.

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