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Wills and Trusts Blog

April, 2021

Choosing a Trustee

For a living trust, it is common for people to name themselves as the trustee. In this way, the trustor is able to manage the assets while they can. In this situation, it is necessary to identify a successor trustee to manage the trust after one’s death. A trustee and the successor trustee have many responsibilities related to managing the trust. Before choosing a trustee, the trustor should carefully consider that individual’s character before making a decision. A trustee is legally responsible for handling the assets that are held inside the trust. The trustee also files the taxes and distributes the assets following the trust’s directives.

Ultimately, the trustee should be a trustworthy individual. The trustor must have confidence that the trustee will take the fiduciary duties responsibly, use good judgment, and act in the beneficiary’s best interests. Many times, a trustor will choose a family member or close friend as trustee. If a trustor selects a family member, it is important to consider the impartiality of this choice. Will this person offer equitable treatment to all beneficiaries, even stepchildren or a spouse’s children? In other circumstances, a trustor may identify a legal professional or a corporation for the role of trustee.

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March 1, 2021

Acquiring a Power of Attorney

Caring for loved ones who are unable to care for themselves often means an individual takes on the many financial and legal responsibilities of that other person. These activities can include managing their daily activities, handling household responsibilities, and ensuring medical needs are met. To gain the legal ability to act for another person, an individual must obtain a power of attorney. This document allows an individual, the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make many types of decisions on behalf of another person, the principal. It is imperative the individual completely trusts the agent.

There are numerous reasons a person would appoint a power of attorney. It could be that a person or family member recognizes their declining ability to make reasonable decisions. A power of attorney is obtained proactively before the individual becomes incapacitated. It is often used when individuals require additional assistance to pay bills and sign documents. There is also a specific power of attorney designed to address healthcare needs and decisions. Without a power of attorney, there is no one to act on one’s behalf if needed for court or legal situations. A power of attorney allows family members to step in when needed to effectively manage financial matters for a loved one.

Feb 1, 2021

Determining Power of Attorney

When obtaining a power of attorney, it is important to choose the appropriate type of legal document which will best meet the needs of the situation. The following kinds of power of attorney focus on financial matters, and each has a unique focus.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney allows another person, on a limited basis, to complete a specific task. The limited power of attorney often begins and ends at certain times outlined in the document, giving the agent appropriate time to complete the specific task.

General Power of Attorney

This document gives certain rights to the agent to conduct and manage another’s financial matters. The general power of attorney concludes upon the principal’s death, if the principal becomes incapacitated, or whenever the principal rescinds it while not being incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney

This legal document can be either limited in scope or general. It allows for an individual to appoint an agent to make all financial decisions for them and represent them in court. This remains in effect until the principal’s death or until it is rescinded by the principal who is not incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can contain language allowing it to continue while the principal is incapacitated.

Springing Power of Attorney

This document gives the agent the ability to make financial decisions for the agent, but it only becomes effective after the principal is incapacitated. These standards must be clearly defined within the document.

An experienced estate planning attorney can assist with determining which power of attorney can best meet the needs of individuals and families in California.

814 West Foothill Blvd.

Monrovia, CA 91016

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The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorneys at Holland, Donnelly & Mishler are licensed to practice law in the State of California.

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