Planning for the future is for everyone. However, when California residents hear about celebrity estate plans gone wrong, they may dismiss the news, thinking it doesn’t matter to them because they do not have as much wealth that needs to be planned for. Nonetheless, whether one is a business owner, a celebrity or someone working hard to make ends meet, one wants to preserve their legacy for their beneficiaries and ensure their assets are protected. This means an estate plan should not just be a will and final testament-it should also take into account scenarios in which one’s cognitive abilities decline and one is unable to make important financial and medical decisions for oneself.
A power of attorney then becomes an important end-of-life document to have in one’s estate plan. However, establishing a power of attorney is not enough-certain steps should be taken to ensure one’s POA is not exploitable and one’s estate is not left for disarray.
One of the most important steps the person creating a POA should do is chose their agent carefully. Rather than simply naming the older child or a close friend as an agent, someone who is good with medical or financial decisions should be named. This person is being trusted to handle one’s affairs diligently and honestly, and the appointment should not be made as an obligation. Additionally, some people consider appointing two people so each can watch over the other. It’s also important to decide when one’s POA will take over-is it effective as soon as one signs it or when becomes incapacitated?
Creating a thorough power of attorney is an important step that should not be taken lightly or casually. Those considering drafting one should think about understanding their legal rights before taking this significant step to ensure they understand the responsibilities their POA will perform, so they can appoint someone accordingly.