As a California adult, when you begin and continue the process of planning your estate, you may want to create a power of attorney to take effect in the event that you become incapacitated. The person who you choose to act as your agent in such an event is also known as your attorney-in-fact, and it is wise to understand what someone in this role can and can’t do.
Choosing an attorney-in-fact
Someone acting as an attorney-in-fact has quite a lot of power. Therefore, choosing someone you completely trust in this role is imperative. It also makes life easier for you and your attorney-in-fact when you live relatively close to each other. An ideal attorney-in-fact is someone good with finances, with the time to devote to this role and who possesses a great sense of judgment.
What someone with a power of attorney can do
An attorney-in-fact can complete many tasks relating to the estate planning process. Here’s a look at some of the things they can perform:
- Signing documents in your name, including business contracts, property-related documents and tax returns
- Gifting your property to another party
- Suing other people or companies on your behalf
- Buying or selling properties in your name
Actions an attorney-in-fact can’t do
While an attorney-in-fact has a lot of power, they can’t complete specific actions. For example, someone in this role can’t do the following:
- Cast your vote in any election
- Create your will
- Fulfill a job that requires your services
Life is often unpredictable, and its unwanted surprises can wreak havoc if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own. Fortunately, an attorney-in-fact can step in when this happens.