A Power of Attorney is an important tool that ensures someone can make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated or in other situations that may require someone else to have decision-making authority.
When preparing to assign someone to act as your attorney-in-fact, you need to understand your options and make informative decisions.
Here are 5 important questions you need to ask yourself and tips to help you make your decisions:
Do you want your attorney-in-fact to have the authority to make decisions and handle financial matters from the time the document is executed, or only after some event has occurred (i.e., you become incapacitated)? If only after a specific even has occurred, be sure this is clear in your document.
Are you better served with just one attorney-in-fact or by appointing co-attorneys-in-fact that allows the responsibilities to be shared? If you choose to have co-attorneys-in-fact, be sure they can get along and make responsible decisions together.
Do you want your Power of Attorney to be durable? If it is not durable, the POA will expire if you become incapacitated. If you want the POA to remain in effect if you become incapacitated, you should ensure that it is durable.
Do you want them to have the authority to make gifts on your behalf? If so, your POA needs to include specific authorization instructions to avoid having a court void the gifts and impose hefty estate taxes.
Do you intend for your attorney-in-fact to be able to make decisions and manage financial matters after your death? A Power of Attorney terminates upon the principal’s death so you will need to talk to an estate planning attorney about the arrangements that need to be made in regard to an Executor/Executrix for your estate.
About the Author
Christina M. Hernandez is the Director and Owner of Attorney Assisted California Centers in Orange, CA. Attorney Assisted is a leading paralegal service provider in Orange County, preparing and filing all legal documents. Also known as Legal Document Assistants, they are a more affordable alternative than going through lawyers for the same notary services. We also offer full divorce services, handling all divorce papers and guiding clients through the entire process out of court.
Families today struggle more than ever with internal conflict for many reasons. Since both parents must work in many families, schedules are tight and parents are stressed, which combine to spark disagreements and tension. The fast pace of life is likewise demanding, keeping every member of the family on edge and in a rush. A tight economy also makes family life more challenging than before, forcing everyone to cut corners and skip the non-essentials.
When family problems escalate beyond the norm, you may want to try helpful tips recommended by family law services. Addressing issues before they get out of hand helps to keep tempers under control and hold the family together.
Prioritize the problem. Sometimes dirty socks left on the floor or a careless word spoken in haste can light the fuse of someone who’s been rushing around all day. If you must mention it, wait until you’re calm and can discuss your concerns reasonably.
Take a timeout. Take a few moments to objectively assess the situation. Walking through the door to a messy house or screaming kids can dampen anyone’s mood. After ensuring the kids are safely supervised, take time to relax with a shower, a nap, or a snack.
Discuss issues privately with your spouse. Avoid arguing in front of the kids. Wait until they’re in bed or at a friend’s house before having a brief and mutually respectful talk with your partner. Use “I” rather than “you” statements: “I feel unvalued when you don’t take out the trash.” (Not: “You never take out the trash when I ask you.”) Listen carefully to the response and find common ground, perhaps switching tasks occasionally.
When all else fails, consult a family law services agency. They help families work through longstanding or highly challenging conflicts.
Although most married couples experience conflict occasionally, some seem to face serious difficulties in managing their relationship. When they are unable to make progress in resolving their differences, they may even consider filing divorce papers to end their marriage. But for those who are willing to work at saving the relationship, yet feel that time spent apart could be beneficial as they work on their problems, legal separation may be the answer.
While a divorce legally ends a marriage, a legal separation is like a “timeout” for married spouses, giving them time to work on their issues in mediation or with a counselor. Although some of these couples eventually divorce anyway, many are able to resolve marital issues and resume their marriages happily and productively.
Attorneys and legal document assistants providing divorce services can assist the couple in filing for a legal separation. The documents involved will indicate the terms of the separation:
Who lives where, i.e. the marital home or elsewhere
Custody and visitation of any minor children
Alimony and spousal or child support if warranted, along with other financial holdings
Splitting of household and personal belongings, and other real or personal property
Terms and conditions of the legal separation
Often, when a couple meets with an attorney, they are shocked by the negativity of a divorce and decide to stay together and work things out. But those that do file for legal separation may appreciate time spent in reflection, healing, and dealing with issues that are negatively impacting the marriage, such as abuse or an addiction.
Some couples remain married but legally separated for years in hopes of repairing their marriage or to provide a family environment for their children. Rather than rushing to file divorce papers, a couple should first thoughtfully consider a legal separation.