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POWERS OF ATTORNEY A Power of Attorney (POA) is one of the 4 basic tools that one finds in a good estate plan that allows someone to help you when you cannot help yourself.  POAs are very powerful, therefore very dangerous in the wrong hands, so you must be cautious in preparing one.  A POA is a legal document where you grant specific powers to allow someone else to legally act in place of you.  Most often, a POA is not limited, so the specific manner in which your "Agent" acts in your stead is up to him.  This substituted judgment means that someone with your POA can sell your house, take money out of your bank accounts, sign you up for a nursing home, etc.  POAs are necessary to give, but only with probing and competent legal advice.  A 'stationery store' POA is not advisable. These are not only refused by many banks and institutions, they can be more dangerous than no help at all. POWERS OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE (HPOA) If you are in an accident, or become ill, and cannot speak to your doctor, someone else will make health care decisions for you.  Or, no one might be allowed to make health care decisions you need in a timely fashion.  Both of these outcomes can be bad for you.  You will need an "Agent" with Power of Attorney for Health Care (HPOA), who knows your wishes and will be your health care advocate, to help you someday. Do you have an Advance Health Care Directive or a Power of Attorney outlining your medical care wishes and designating an Agent to speak on your behalf? Most of us have heard about the unfortunate situation that affected Terry Schiavo and her husband Michael.  Ms. Schiavo, a young woman, suffered an unexpected and severe medical condition rendering her nearly comatose; as a result, she was unable to communicate for herself, therefore her husband was determined to carry out her health care wishes (which were not in writing).  Ms. Schiavo's parents and her husband disagreed about her care and treatment, and 7+ years of agonizing litigation and medical tug-of-war enveloped them all.  AVOID repeating a similar scenario through an Advance Health Care Directive / Health Care Power of Attorney. These directives protect your life and your dignity in being able to say HOW YOU WANT TO LIVE AND NOT TO LIVE when you cannot speak for yourself.  The Law Offices of Anne M. Campbell, PC uses the State of California statutory form for the HPOA, and adds precise wording which is necessary when you are severely handicapped or ill.  Our years of experience show us that the HPOA, properly planned, can help you in a rehabilitation center, a skilled facility, a hospital, or at home, to have a defined QUALITY OF LIFE.  YOU make decisions about the treatment you want and do not want which guide your agent and your physicians. These important directives protect your family and agent from the pressure of health care providers and others by allowing your agent to prove your wishes, relieving your agent of the agony of decision-making for you, making your wishes clear. Advance Health Care Directive – this document or instruction can be used to appoint a close friend or family member to make health care decisions for you should you be physically or mentally unable to make those decisions. This document is more comprehensive than a living will.  We provide both in one document, to ensure your best chance at receiving the health care treatment you want. The directive appoints agents (as well as alternate agents) who are willing to carry out your wishes for you should you not be able due to either physical or mental disability. The directive can include but is not limited to pain management and treatment, when treatment should be halted, whether nutrients and hydration are to be provided or discontinued. HIPAA – this is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This law is directed at the health insurance industry but has specific provisions concerning privacy rights for individuals. The provisions include a written authorization from the patient for the release of health information. Any health care documentation that you have should be updated to include language that will meet HIPAA release regulations. DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY MATTERS (DPOA) This power of attorney gives someone the authority to manage your finances, your real property (real estate) and personal property matters.  Some of the duties that a DPOA generally can include are: •Selling or purchasing real estate (your house, condo, time share) •Making deposits, withdrawals from banks and other financial institutions •Signing tax returns •Transferring assets to a trust •Making investments •Managing all aspects of your financial affairs The DPOA should be very specific about exactly what power you feel comfortable giving to your Agent.  Most banks and financial institutions are very cautious about POAs, and will often refuse to honor one that has been put together off a form you might find on the internet or in a store.  This is as much for your protection as for the bank's. Tax issues surround a DPOA and its use by your Agent.  Have you decided to allow your Agent to give everything you own away so that you can be placed in a nursing home?  No nursing home for you?  Better plan, then, to obtain sound legal advice about how to use these legal documents before you sign one.  Anne M. Campbell, Esq., has been advising clients for almost a quarter-century, and that experience will assist you in making a wise decision when it comes to your Powers of Attorney.

Anne M. Campbell, Esq.

Call to make an appointment in Northern California counties: (707)449-0800 For appointments in Central California or with other questions: (805)594-1669 Anne@AnneCampbellLaw.com State Bar # 114687
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