Regardless of the circumstance, ensuring the legal and financial security of your loved one is a must. Providing necessary care for one’s family members is non-negotiable and their best interest, at present and especially in the future, must always take into account.

Creating estate planning documents

There is more to estate administration than simply transferring or distributing property. An estate can refer to one’s real property, bank account, or personal property, and if a person wants to determine how these shall be managed, there is a legal document suited for what he or she intends to do. End-of-life decisions, naming beneficiaries who will inherit, heirs who will carry out your wishes after death, and appointing guardians for minor children are just some of these.

To ensure their validity, living wills and trusts or drafts must be pursuant to relevant estate planning laws. A common example would be two witnesses must have witnessed the process before you sign it. Otherwise, your beneficiary or loved ones could face unnecessary stress when you pass away. Granting powers of attorney requires the same rigor.

Additionally, some fail to realize that aside from making arrangements when you die, it is equally important to plan for circumstances when you are still alive (but would be unable to care for yourself or others, or making decisions on certain matters is not possible).

Legal forms and granting a power of attorney for specific matters

A person granting a general power of attorney is dealing with just one of so many types. Knowing the difference between a durable power of attorney or enduring power of attorney, or special power of attorney or limited power of attorney, can be quite complicated. Add to this other similar yet confusing terms, such as springing power of attorney, medical power of attorney, or healthcare power of attorney. As such, before you become unable (physically or mentally) to authorize an individual you wish to grant or designate, for purposes relevant to you, seek legal advice now.

Incapacity refers to the inability to care for or make decisions for oneself or one’s minor children. Here, state law on legal authority and mental capacity should be taken seriously. Getting in touch with a trusted and competent Calabasas estate planning attorney before proceeding is a smart decision.

Not a lot are aware that even before one becomes incapacitated, he or she can delegate parental authority for a limited period, usually from six months to even a year. This can be done through a power of attorney document for the minor child (which is also known as a minor power of attorney, a delegation of parental powers, or guardianship power of attorney). This is particularly helpful if you will be away from such a minor child for an extended period, such as when you are traveling or would temporarily become incapacitated to act on behalf of your child.

When to have the power of attorney documents prepared

Protecting your family and assets is of utmost importance, especially now that we are living through a pandemic. A lot of things are uncertain in the current situation, and an up-to-date estate plan that complies with relevant statutory law is something that you should work on.

It might be helpful to know that one can grant powers of attorney for someone who will lawfully make financial decisions (on behalf of the grantor). Giving the capacity to make decisions on finances and act on your behalf is something you should not overlook. If no one is authorized to act on behalf of the deceased person, the probate process would likely be a problem for the concerned family member. The probate court will appoint a conservator who will manage your affairs. Such conservatorship is rarely an ideal set-up, and an experienced Calabasas estate planning attorney can explain why.

Another document that could be relevant at present would be a health care power of attorney (which is also called a patient advocate designation or an advance directive). This is a specific power of attorney for health care decisions, particularly on would-be medical treatment. Remember that you cannot make medical decisions just like that.

Getting legal assistance

Seek legal help from an estate law attorney before you create estate planning documents or fill out a power of attorney form. Remember that all legal documents, including the power of attorney forms, must comply with state laws. It is crucial to consult with a trustworthy estate planning lawyer since laws vary from state to state and relevant statutes can be quite confusing.

Not all people find the need for an elder law attorney, but consulting a professional knowledgeable on the above is crucial. For FAQs on estate planning, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, call our law firm. Talk to our Calabasas estate planning attorney at Moschetti Law Group for reliable estate planning services or free legal consultation.

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