What You Need to Know About California’s Durable Power of Attorney Law
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone else to make decisions on their behalf if they can no longer do so themselves.
However, California has specific criteria for a durable power of attorney to be legally binding. You will want to make sure you understand those requirements so that you or your loved ones won’t find yourselves facing a legal battle.
What is a Power of Attorney?
When creating an estate plan, you will want to appoint someone as your power of attorney. That person will be able to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.
There are several types of powers you can appoint to someone, such as:
- General power: allows the designated person to act on your behalf in any matters permitted by California law.
- Limited power: the appointee can only act on your behalf in specific situations spelled out by you.
- Durable power of attorney (DPOA): controls certain areas designated by the terms of the agreement, even if you become mentally incapacitated.
- Healthcare power of attorney (HCPA) or healthcare proxy: makes decisions regarding your medical care if you cannot do so.
- Financial power of attorney: you assign someone to oversee your assets and make payments on your behalf.
Does California Have Any Legal Requirements For Durable Power of Attorney?
California requires certain criteria for a durable power of attorney to hold up in a court of law.
First, both the principal person and the appointee must be legal adults. The person appointed as DPOA can not be affected by the principal’s incapacitation, and the POA does not go into effect until the principal becomes incapacitated.
To be legally binding, a DPOA must be signed by two witnesses (the principal can not be one of the witnesses) or be dated and acknowledged by a notary public.
What Are Some Things to Consider When Choosing an Agent to Act as a DPOA?
There are a few things to consider when choosing an agent under California’s durable power of attorney law. First, you’ll want to choose someone you trust implicitly to make decisions on your behalf. This person will have a great deal of power over your finances, so it’s essential that you select someone responsible and level-headed.
Finally, be sure to discuss your wishes with your agent in advance so they are clear on what you expect from them.
Planning for the Future
When it comes to planning for the future, you want to make sure you are getting the best legal advice. Our lawyers at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have years of experience and will guide you in making tough decisions about your future. We can discuss how much authority you want to give your durable power of attorney and ensure they carry out your wishes.
If you live in San Jose or the greater Bay Area, schedule your free consultation or call us at 408-553-0801.