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The short answer is no. If your loved one named you power of attorney or a POA for short, the legal document allows you to act on his behalf while he is incapacitated. In other words, you have the authority to make financial decisions, pay bills, and access bank accounts while your loved one is sick and unable to do so himself.

However, your rights as power of attorney may end in one of three ways. You will no longer have active powers when:

  • Your loved one recovers enough to make financial decisions again. If your loved one is healthy enough to make financial decisions again, the power to do so reverts back to him.
  • Your loved one dies. When your loved one dies then the right to make financial decisions goes to the executor, trustee, and others provided with that authority for his estate plan.
  • Your rights end as described in the power of attorney document or California law. The POA document may have specific provisions that explain when the power ends. Additionally, if your spouse is named as your POA and you get divorced, the power of attorney may no longer be valid in California.

Power of attorney is meant to be a temporary power that helps a loved one through a time when he may be unable to make financial decisions for himself. It is not a permanent appointment, but it is an important one.

To find out more about your duties as a power of attorney or to learn why you might want to name a POA in your own estate plan, you can read the related links below. Also, please follow us on Facebook or sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay updated on estate planning news that might affect you.

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