Under California law, a person can grant the authority to another individual to manage their financial affairs. This is often done through a durable power of attorney. A power of attorney is an important piece to the estate-planning puzzle. Since there are specific requirements under California estate laws that must be met for the document to be effective, it is vital that you contact a knowledgeable Orange County estate planning lawyer for assistance.
In order to create an enforceable durable power of attorney in California, the principal must be of sound mind. Essentially, this means that you must be mentally fit at the time that you execute the document. To assess whether someone has the mental capacity to enter into a durable power of attorney relationship with an agent, consider the following questions:
- Can the principal understand the consequences of financial decisions?
- Is the principal aware of the responsibilities associated with a financial transaction?
- Does the principal understand the risks and benefits of a financial transaction?
- Is the principal over age 18?
- Does the principal know what his or her financial assets consist of?
- Does the principal understand who the agent is that he or she is appointing?
Unfortunately, if an individual is not of sound mind, a durable power of attorney cannot be granted effectively. It is therefore crucial that you create and sign this document while you have the mental capacity. Once you become incapacitated, it is too late.
To learn more about creating your estate plan, view our free guide, The Ten Things You Must Know before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust. Contact the experienced Orange County estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC for more information and guidance. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.