Why You Need a Power of Attorney

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 in Estate Planning, San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Why You Need a Power of Attorney

Why You Need a Power of Attorney

 

When I first heard about a “Power of Attorney” I figured it was what you got after finishing law school and taking the Bar. The good news is that a Power of Attorney is much simpler than that! There is no rigorous three years of law school required to get a Power of Attorney, instead you just need a few documents, someone who DID go to law school who can help you (Gary Quackenbush!) and a clear head to make some decisions.

So what is a Power of Attorney document all about and why do you need one? Watch this video of Gary and Coronado Real Estate agent Ruth Ann Fisher on the Craig Sewing Show as they discuss how a Power of Attorney could have saved Ruth Ann’s in-laws a lot of grief when her father-in-law was seriously injured and unable to sign real estate documents right as they were about to sell a house.

*Power of Attorney discussion starts at 2:16*

Power of Attorney (P.O.A.) : A document giving someone else power to act in your behalf.

This can be absolutely essential, in health care, end of life, financial and business decisions if you were to become legally incompetent. Without a Power of Attorney document, there may be no way for your family members or business associates to carry out your wishes, sell your house, run your business, etc.

There are three types of Power of Attorney in California.

 

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare POA allows you to choose someone to be your representative, called an “agent,” and make healthcare decisions for you if you were not capable or able to make them yourself. This comes in to play most often due to illness, injury, or incapacitation.

A Living Will, another essential part of a complete Estate Plan, usually only covers life-sustaining medical treatment. A Healthcare POA covers a lot more situations and is not limited to terminally ill or permanent coma situations.

Why do I need a healthcare POA? We understand that these health care possibilities are things that most people don’t like to think about. Most of us think “That will never happen to me!” The problem lies in the fact that accidents and illnesses do happen and we have little to no control over whether or not they happen to us. Think of it like car insurance, nobody wants to get in a car accident and getting insurance isn’t saying that you will get in accident, its just the right thing to do to protect yourself and those around you. Setting up a healthcare power of attorney will save your family members a lot of problems and potentially conflict, should something happen to you.

 

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Power of Attorney

HIPPA governs how and with whom healthcare providers share your healthcare information. A HIPPA POA allows you to clearly allow your “agent” to receive all your healthcare information.

Why do I need a HIPPA POA? Due to the restrictions set in place to protect your privacy, even with an agent designated as a healthcare power of attorney, without a HIPPA power of attorney, healthcare providers may not be able to share all the details of your medical situation with the person you set up as your agent on your Healthcare POA. Your “agent” needs all of your healthcare information in order to make an informed decision on your behalf.

 

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows you to choose who will be able to act on your behalf in a number of financial and business situations if you were unable to do so yourself. This is the type of POA that would have helped Ruth Ann’s in-laws when they were about to sell their house and her father-in-law was seriously injured and was unable to sign the Real Estate documents. Since both her mother and father-in-law’s names were on the deed, without a durable POA set up, there was nobody else who could sign for her father-in-law.

Why do I need a durable POA? A recent Forbes article that is referenced in the YouTube video above spells it out clearly

“If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney and are unable to manage your affairs, a court may need to appoint a guardian or guardians to act on your behalf – often without your input or agreement. And in the meantime, critical financial or business decisions or transactions won’t be carried out – and that negatively impact you or your loved ones.”

 

All in all, you need a Power of Attorney so that if misfortune strikes, there can be order and peace with your life and your affairs. Make the decision today to protect your future and make an appointment to come in and set up some Power of Attorney documents with San Diego’s expert estate planning attorney Gary Quackenbush. He’s been helping people just like you for years and can help you understand the ins and outs of the documents and make sure that everything you want gets lined up.

Call us today at 858-549-8600 or 855-MY-GQLaw

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This information is general information about California law. Laws change frequently. This is not a substitute for professional legal counsel. Please come in to our office for a free consolation to get advise about your individual situation.

 

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