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  • Daniel Rodriguez

Choosing an attorney-in-fact

Updated: Mar 8

Choosing an attorney-in-fact in California can impact your experience in the last months or years of your life, and it can impact the experiences of your children and other family members. Suppose you’re unsure of how to undergo the process. In that case, there are a few things that you should look for when you’re trying to make the decision, including the geographical location and personal characteristics of the person. But first, you should know what power of attorney entails.


What is an attorney-in-fact?

You give power of attorney rights to your attorney-in-fact. When you give a person these rights, you’re essentially designating someone who will be able to make decisions about money, health, and other end-of-life decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated and can’t make them yourself. The attorney-in-fact can often do activities that the principal, the person the attorney-in-fact is acting for, would reasonably do for themselves if they could. For instance, the attorney-in-fact can trade stocks, cash checks, close bank accounts, and withdraw funds from the principal’s accounts. They might also make decisions about real estate for the principal. The principal typically doesn’t have any legal background, such as an attorney would, but they work on behalf of the principal's best interests. Additionally, it’s possible to make an attorney-at-law your attorney-in-fact.


How to choose an attorney-in-fact

As you look for an attorney-in-fact for estate planning, you should try to find someone who lives close by so that they can be there quickly to decide if you’re close to death or because a decision needs to be made quickly for another reason. Additionally, you should look for someone who will be trustworthy, can be assertive, can understand the medical process, can articulate thoughts, and is willing to serve in this capacity.


If you’re doing estate planning, it’s worthwhile to look into electing an attorney-in-fact to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them yourself. Taking the time now to elect one often makes end-of-life tasks easier for family members, too.

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