Do I Need A Power of Attorney For Finances?
If you become sick or unable to handle your finances (e.g. pay your mortgage, rent, utilities, health care bills; sign tax returns; file / defend lawsuits; etc.) someone must step in to make decisions for you. If you want to control who has the authority to act as your agent during times of sickness or incapacity, the answer is simple: yes, you need a power of attorney for finances.
A power of attorney for finances allows you to name someone as your agent to act during times you are unable to make those decisions. By use of this document you can also decide which powers your agent can exercise on your behalf. Some of those powers might include the following:
Real Property transactions (e.g. sell, purchase, lease);
Tangible personal property transactions (e.g. sell, purchase, lease);
Stock and bond transactions (e.g. sell, purchase);
Commodity and option transactions;
Banking and other financial institution transactions including access to safe deposit boxes and authority to withdrawal or add to the contents;
Business operating transactions (e.g. operate a business on your behalf);
Insurance and annuity transactions;
Estate, trust, and other beneficiary transactions (e.g. transfer property to / from a trust, name beneficiaries);
Claims and litigation (e.g. file / defend a lawsuit on your behalf);
Personal and family maintenance (e.g. support family members);
Benefits from social security, medicare, medicaid, or other governmental programs, or civil or military service (e.g. access to / apply for such benefits);
Retirement plan transactions (e.g. access to / withdraw from retirement accounts; and
Tax matters (e.g. sign tax returns, settle tax disputes).
There are several requirements to make your power of attorney valid and there are different types (immediate versus springing, durable versus non durable, and limited versus general). It is important to work with an attorney to ensure that your power of attorney meets those requirements.
If you are interested in talking to an attorney about creating a will or other estate planning documents, our attorneys can help you work through your options. Please contact our law firm at (951) 888-2444 to set up a consultation with an estate planning attorney.
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