Estate planning often focuses on the creation of wills and the execution of trusts. However, most California residents can benefit from executing another form of important estate planning device: a durable power of attorney. This informational post will introduce readers to durable powers of attorney and what they do for them. However, as with all other posts on this estate planning blog, readers are reminded that no legal advice is conveyed herein.
What is a durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives the rights and powers of making medical decisions for an individual to another person. For example, if a California resident were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident that resulted in their hospitalization and coma, their durable power of attorney could give the named individual the power to make medical decisions for them. When an individual becomes incapacitated and cannot make medical and healthcare decisions for themselves, their durable power of attorney becomes active and gives those powers to another person.
Who should have a durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney is an important document for all California adults to possess. Anyone can suffer an emergency accident or an unexpected illness that renders them unable to provide guidance on their own medical care. To this end, durable powers of attorney are important components of all estate planning conversations.
Can a person cancel their durable power of attorney?
If an individual regains consciousness or is otherwise able to make decisions for their own medical care, their durable power of attorney will cease to function. Additionally, a person can revoke their durable power of attorney if they wish to. As with all other estate planning documents, durable powers of attorney can be cancelled or changed upon the wishes of the creator.
As mentioned, this post provides no legal advice. Readers are encouraged, though, to speak with their trusted estate planning lawyers about durable powers of attorney and other important documents to protect their rights and interests in the future.