Choosing an attorney-in-fact is an essential part of your California estate plan. The person you choose can make legally binding decisions on your behalf. You grant this authority with a document called a power of attorney. You can limit the power of attorney to strictly healthcare or financial matters or grant the individual a general power of attorney. This status allows them to handle financial, legal and health issues on your behalf.
Trust and integrity
When selecting the right attorney-in-fact for you during estate planning, choose a person you trust completely. This individual must act with integrity and honesty to make critical decisions on your behalf. Choose a family member or close friend with a history of ethical decision-making and responsible behavior. You can also choose a licensed financial advisor or attorney to fill this essential role.
Good communication matters
Select an individual who can discuss your wishes with you, understand your viewpoint and effectively communicate your wishes to the relevant parties when needed. This person must be available at any time and reachable in emergencies. The ability to have clear and open communication with this individual is a must for them to successfully fulfill the power of attorney role.
The attorney-in-fact needs to clearly understand your important wishes, values and preferences. This is especially essential if they must make healthcare or end-of-life decisions for you. Choosing someone who respects your beliefs and knows you well is more likely to result in them making decisions that align with your wishes.
Choose someone competent and financially responsible for a financial or general power of attorney. They may need to manage and pay your bills and make crucial financial decisions on your behalf. Consider the person’s ability to handle complex financial transactions and related matters.
Discussing your expectations upfront ensures your attorney-in-fact can advocate for your wishes and preferences. Designating someone using a signed power of attorney with clear and specific directions prevents the risk of confusion in your time of need.