Granting someone power of attorney means that you are giving them the authority to make important decisions on your behalf should you be incapable of making them yourself. The scope, duration, and other specifics are up to you. While the laws vary in each state, it’s usually as simple as drafting a document or filling out a form and then signing it in front of witnesses or having it notarized. You can choose someone to act as your agent when it comes to handling medical decisions, managing financial matters, or both.
In some situations, you may choose to have different types of decisions handled by more than one person. For example, you may want to leave your adult son in charge of making medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated while putting your financial responsibilities in the hands of your adult daughter.
You can also be more detailed about the type of authority each person will have. Perhaps you want all of your grown children to be involved in making your financial decisions, but you want one child in particular to handle the sale of your home while the other manages your bank accounts to pay off debts and taxes. These specific designations can be addressed in your documents.
Another option to consider, when having more than one power of attorney, is whether they can act alone or if they have to make decisions together. Giving each agent independent authority will allow them to act without the other agent(s) being involved. If you’re unsure about how well any particular agent can handle such responsibilities, you can include language in your power of attorney documents that would require both or all agents to work together and sign off on these decisions.
While you do have the right to name more than one person as your power of attorney, remember that allowing too many people to have a say can create conflict and chaos. Be sure to discuss your wishes with each of the people who you will choose to act on your behalf so that they are aware of what will be required of them including cooperation with your other agents. If you have questions or you are ready to move forward with creating your legal documents, contact our Santa Barbara estate planning attorneys at (805) 946-1550 to schedule an appointment.