Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Do You Have Grounds To Challenge A Power Of Attorney In California?
In the wrong hands, a power of attorney can be easily exploited, especially if the authorizing document allows access to the principal's money and other assets. In other circumstances, a power of attorney is simply not fulfilling its obligations under the POA agreement.
That said, it is possible to challenge a Power of Attorney. In this post, we'll talk about how it can be contested, as often handled by El Monte Estate Lawyers in California.
While you can make your own decisions, it is critical to obtain powers of attorney before you aren't able to do so. You should choose someone you can fully trust to understand and carry out your needs. Typically, this is a spouse, adult child, close friend, or business partner, but it could also be a trust, corporation, or government agency.
A principal in a power of attorney arrangement can change the agreement at any moment by submitting paperwork to the court. For example, if the principal is disabled, as is frequently the case, an interested third party might petition the court to have a power of attorney revoked.
This, however, necessitates presenting proof to the court that invalidating the POA is in the best interests of the primary. The agent must be notified, and they will be allowed to defend their actions.
Reasons For Challenging A Power Of Attorney
That said, you can't just contest a Power of Attorney without a valid reason. Here are three reasons why people challenge POAs:
1. Undue Influence
This claim states that the agent gained power of attorney by deceiving the principal into acting against their own best interests.
Undue influence is defined as a circumstance in which someone in a position of power abuses another person, such as through persuasion, threats, or coercion.
For example, if you or a loved one has been coerced or defrauded into signing a POA, you should consult with an El Monte Estate Planning Lawyer immediately.
2. Authority Abuse
This alleges that the agent acts in the principal's best interests by making decisions or performing activities that are not in their best interests.
The accusation is frequently that the agent abuses power conferred by the POA for personal benefit or other unfair purposes. The following are examples of authority abuse:
Taking advantage of the principal's assets
The principal's assets have been mismanaged
Failure to preserve proper records, which is a breach of fiduciary obligation
Ignoring the principal's requirements
Failure to carry out the POA's instructions
Authority abuse can take many forms. So before deciding to contest a POA, contact a prescreened El Monte Estate Attorney to help you.
Because establishing powers of attorney in California is relatively simple, it is relatively uncommon for certain documents to miss one or more of the formalities required to establish a binding POA.
Therefore, if the agreement fails to meet the following criteria, it may be challenged:
California law requires specific language
A specific language authorizes the principal's acts
Witnesses and signatures are required
In most circumstances, powers of attorney are not subject to judicial or third-party monitoring. Thus, if the principal cannot oversee the agent's actions, anyone with authority granted by a comprehensive written power of attorney agreement can easily abuse it.
When it comes to challenging any document in California (i.e., wills, conservatorships, and POAs), you'll need thorough preparation. After all, documents like this can be crucial to someone's life and well-being, so they're taken seriously.
When you need someone to help you challenge legal documents, contact an El Monte Estate Planning Lawyer to help you.
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