What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (“POA”) is a legal document that allows another person to manage your affairs for you. In California, there are separate POA documents that must be completed for financial and medical decisions.

POAs allow you to appoint different people for different tasks and they can become effective upon a certain event (like your incapacity) or for a set amount of time (like if you’re travelling overseas for six months and have business dealings that must be dealt with).

Here’s a list of when it is advisable to have POAs in place:

  • You live alone and have major surgery scheduled soon.
  • You will be out of the country for several months and have business dealings that must be handled.
  • You have an irreversible, debilitating disease.
  • You are just living your life with no medical issues and you don’t expect to be out of touch anytime soon.

In short, you should ALWAYS have POAs in place just in case something happens.