The short answer is no, but here is the reason why. A power of attorney is a document that allows you to name an agent to take financial, legal, or medical actions on your behalf (depending on the type of document that you are executing). Here are a few things your agent may do for you:
- Sell your house
- Access your brokerage accounts
- Decide whether you will accept a medical treatment
Of course, a power of attorney may not approve your agent to do all of those things. You control how much authority the agent has when you execute a power of attorney. You may execute a document that allows an agent to care for one financial or legal matter and that is all.
Your spouse only has control of assets that you share or that you have given your spouse power of attorney over. Here are some examples:
- You may give your spouse the judgment call of when to take you off of life support equipment.
- Your spouse can access a bank account that is in both of your names.
- You can make your spouse a trustee, beneficiary, executor of your will, or appoint him or her to any other number of positions.
Executing a Power of Attorney in California
So being married to you or even having a power of attorney document signed doesn’t give any one person control over all aspects of your life. You want your estate plan to clearly outline who gets control of what in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions for a time. Petrov Law Firm can help you to assign agents to care for necessary matters while giving you the ability to regain control should you change your mind about an agent or recover from an incapacitating ailment. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
A spouse has a right to claim some portion of the deceased’s estate regardless of the will. Known as an elective share, spousal right laws favor the surviving spouse. Frequently this becomes an issue when married couples simple forego the nuisance of a divorce and live separate lives although legally still joined. The spouse doesn’t have to “contest” the will, but instead opts for their “forced share” as the estate passes through probate. If you are a widow, widower, or the surviving member of a family surprised by the appearance of a surviving spouse, hire a lawyer to help you through this process.
All states have their own laws about dealing with a “widow’s share.” California is a community property state and this allows the surviving spouse up to 50% of the community property. Of course defining community property can be tricky. Frequently courts will review the “augmented estate” to determine if the surviving spouse is due more than what appears as part of the estate asset list. Frequently, people will attempt to distribute assets prior to death in an attempt to prevent a disinherited spouse from collecting their share of the estate by law. The augmented estate takes these pre-death distributions into account when determining the spouse’s share.
Spousal rights generally cause significant contention with the existing beneficiaries. Generally, if a spouse is claiming his or her elective share, he or she is doing so to take more out of the estate than stated in the will. The best way through these circumstances is with an estate attorney ensuring the assets are distributed according to law — no less, no more.Read More