Free California Power of Attorney Forms
California Power of Attorney By Type
There are a few types of POAs, each granting different limits to the designated authority or power: general, limited, and durable POA. There is also a medical POA for healthcare reasons. It’s important to know what type of POA you need in California to understand what is allowed and not allowed in the legal arrangement (California Probate Code Div. 4.5).
This list has a summary of each type of POA:
- General Power of Attorney - It grants broad authority to an agent, allowing them to make financial decisions on behalf of the principal. However, to prevent misuse of the POA, the agent is not allowed to authorize financial gifts to themself from the principal.
- Limited Power of Attorney - Under this POA, the principal has the right to specify the access and authority of the agent. For example, when handling financial transactions, the agent may have access to the principal’s bank account but only for deposits and not for withdrawals or writing checks.
- Durable Power of Attorney - Most POAs end when the principal becomes incompetent or incapacitated unless the power of attorney is durable. In California, a POA becomes durable when it has the following statement: “This POA shall not be affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal” (California Probate Code § 4124).
- Medical Power of Attorney - An agent armed with this type of POA can make essential healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf. Unless it is a durable medical POA, an agent doesn’t have the right to make end-of-life decisions. However, the principal can provide healthcare instructions based on the Advance Health Care Directive (California Probate Code § 4800).
How To Get a Power of Attorney in California
The principal of a California POA must be at least 18 years old and should have the legal capacity to enter into a contract.
The form should follow the state-created format and be signed by the principal and agent. At least two witnesses must sign a general or limited POA and be notarized and recorded in the county. The agent cannot be one of the witnesses.
Once the POA is signed, a copy must be stored in a safe location. POA copies must be given to the agent and healthcare provider in case of a medical POA.
California Power of Attorney Laws
California acts on powers of attorney under the California Probate Code, which generally addresses legal concerns regarding inheritance and estates of descendants (California Probate Code). Chapter 2 of the code cites the requirements of a legal POA:
- It must contain the date of its execution.
- It must be signed by the principal, but if they are unable to, another adult may sign on behalf of and in the presence of the principal and with the principal’s permission or direction.
- It is acknowledged by a notary public or signed by at least two witnesses who meet the requirements enumerated under Chapter 2. They must both be adults, neither of them should be the attorney-in-fact, and they should have witnessed the principal signing the POA or have the principal’s acknowledgment of the signing on their behalf (California Probate Code § 4122).
Under the California POA, the agent is granted authority over the principal’s properties, personal care, and other legal matters. When it comes to properties, they can make transactions related to the principal’s personal and real properties, whether they are in California or not.
As for personal care, the agent may decide where the principal lives and who will provide the principal’s meals. Moreover, the agent can hire household employees and arrange for the principal’s transportation, mail, and even entertainment and recreation.
FAQs About California Power of Attorney Forms
The following are common questions people have about the power of attorney in California, as well as the POA forms that all parties involved will sign. As they say, knowledge is power, so it’s best to have information before dealing with any legal matter.