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Do I need a durable power of attorney?


A Sacramento resident must decide for himself what estate planning documents he wants to execute to ensure that his affairs will be managed to his expectations in the event of his incapacitation or death. As such, readers are asked to speak with their estate planning attorneys about their needs rather than relying on this blog post as advice. It is offered for informational purposes only.

California families should know the warning signs of incapacity


Sooner or later many families in California will have to face the reality that aging loved ones are no longer able to manage their own financial affairs. Research has shown that an individual's ability to make financial decisions peaks at about age 53. A person's capacity to deal with new information begins to decline around age 60. For family members, it is best to be prepared for the possibility of an older relative's diminishing capacity by planning ahead, and being watchful for some key warning signs.

A durable POA allows a trusted person to handle one's affairs


When an individual becomes mentally or physically incapacitated, they often have difficulty performing basic tasks like paying bills or balancing their checkbook. Older individuals may become incapacitated due to Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. Even relatively young people can become incapacitated by serious illness or a disabling injury. Regardless of the reason for the incapacity, California law allows a trusted individual to step into the shoes of the incapacitated person and handle their affairs by means of a durable power of attorney.

Alternatives to guardianship for an incapacitated loved one


As the baby boom generation ages, many people in California are dealing with the issue of elderly relatives who can no longer make decisions on their own behalf. When a loved one becomes incapacitated due to dementia, illness or injury, it is sometimes necessary for the court to appoint a guardian for that person.

Powers of attorney insure against the unexpected


Any person, not only seniors, may face circumstances where she cannot handle daily and legal tasks because of an unexpected accident or health condition. A power of attorney may be insurance that a trusted person can step in and handle such personal matters.

A durable power of attorney can provide real peace of mind


For most Californians, estate planning means making plans for the disposition of one's property after death. While this is usually the most important aspect of estate planning, it is far from the only one. Many people, especially as they get older, face the possibility of a prolonged period of mental or physical incapacity, or both. Planning for the possibility of incapacity should be a key element of any California estate plan.

Creating a power of attorney to avoid legal battles


When blues legend B.B. King died last week he left behind a legacy of music that has influenced countless musicians in California and around the world. Unfortunately, he also left behind a brewing fight between his children and his business manager over the management of his assets.

Finding the right person to trust with end-of-life planning


When it comes to end-of-life issues, people in California might start to get a little uneasy. After all, estate planning, health care directives and retirement issues aren't something people think about a lot and the odds are that it's an uncertain area for older people who are thinking about these issues for the first time. Finding an attorney is easy, but finding the right one, a trustworthy attorney with the right combination of experience and knowledge in estate planning matters, is a whole different issue. It's a fast, complex world out there and people may not know where to turn for legal advice they can trust.

What is 'undue influence' and how does it affect the elderly?


Theft under California law is really quite simple. Like most states, it involves intentionally depriving another person of their rightfully owned property permanently, and the penalties are generally assessed based on the severity of the crime. However, there is a more serious kind of theft that often goes unnoticed and unreported in California's elderly population, the crime of financial abuse.

Abusing a power of attorney is a crime


People in California may have heard a lot about elder abuse and tragic stories of people having their life savings wiped out by someone who has taken advantage of them financially. Unfortunately in many of these cases, the damage may already largely have been done by the time the financial fraud or abuse is discovered, but there are remedies, both criminal and civil, for victims of financial abuse and their families.

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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