Setting up Power of Attorney: Richard Ruman, Attorney.

What does 'Power of Attorney' mean and do?...

Areas of Expertise

A good attorney should be consulted before granting blanket Power of Attorney rights to anyone. 

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Powers of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney and when does it come in to use? First, the power of attorney is a legal document that assigns to someone else the right to act on your behalf in legal and business affairs. The one granting the power is called a granter (or principal) and the person receiving the power Is called an agent.

The agent stands in the place of the granter when the granter cannot be present to handle his or her own business. However, the agent is a representative of the granter and must, depending on the type of Power of Attorney, be guided by the granter's wishes. A Power of Attorney remains in effect unless revoked by the granter.

There are a number of types of powers of attorney -- some permanent, some not; some for a specific purpose and some that cover everything. In all cases, the agent is required by law to be honest and have the granter's best Interest In mind at all times.

Three things to keep in mind when selecting your agent

  1. Pick someone you trust -- someone who has proven him or herself to you over the years
  2. Pick someone who lives near you -- it makes communications easier and it also makes It much more convenient to interact with your banks and the people with whom you do business
  3. Pick someone who agrees to submit an accounting of actions taken on the your behalf to a neutral third party for review

The two common types of Power of Attorney are the Durable Power of Attorney and the Medical Power of Attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney remains in force even if the granter becomes ill or incapacitated.   Regular or "non-durable" Power of Attorney is automatically revoked if the granter's mental capacity diminishes. Depending on how the Power of Attorney document is crafted, the agent can be given the right to carry out some or all of the following:

  • Sign checks and withdrawn funds from the granter's bank account
  • Apply for benefits and pay for the granter's care
  • Buy and sell the granter's property
  • Invest the granter's money
  • Handle the granter's tax matters
  • Make gifts on the granter's behalf
  • Make legal decisions, sign legal documents, and conduct litigation on behalf of the granter

Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that lets you specify your wishes about your medical care, rather than leaving it up to doctors or the legal system to decide, in case you cannot make your own decisions. The two basic types are:

  • Living Will. This is where you can detail, In advance, what treatments are to be followed, which are forbidden, when to stop treatment, and so forth
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This gives a trusted friend the right to make the whatever decisions are need regarding health care, if you cannot.

Power of Attorney

If you need to establish a Power of Attorney, be sure it is specific and covers only what you need. Of course I believe a good attorney should be consulted before granting blanket Power of Attorney rights to someone -- at least so you understand, completely, the consequences of such decisions. Feel free to call me and we can develop a plan that works for you.

© 2008 Richard Ruman. All rights reserved.
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Richard Ruman Attorney at Law 9401 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1250 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 273-7474
Practicing primarily in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Site content copyright Richard Ruman.