How To Get A Power of Attorney in California, and Which One

Updated: Apr 22

The Different Types Of POAs And What They're For

Power of Attorney is a formal, legal document that allows one person (the "principal") to delegate decision-making authority to another person (the "attorney-in-fact" or "agent"). The agent's decisions under a power of attorney are just as legally binding as if the principal took them.

You'll need to build a durable power of attorney if you want someone to make decisions for you when you're incapacitated. Seek an Estate Planning Attorney for help with this process.

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In California, you can generally delegate the authority to make financial and property decisions in the same document. Still, you must use a separate form called a power of attorney for health care to delegate the authority to make healthcare decisions. You may also make a power of attorney to appoint someone to look after your child if you can't.

When the principal dies or revokes the document, the document is automatically invalidated. When the creator of the POA becomes incapacitated, traditional POAs expire, but a "durable POA" stays in place to enable the agent to handle the creator's affairs, and a "springing POA" comes into effect only if and when the creator of the POA becomes incapacitated. An agent may also make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person with a medical or healthcare POA.

The fundamentals:

  • A special power of attorney enables a person (the principal) to appoint another person (the agent) to act on their behalf in legal matters.

  • Only unique specified situations allow the agent to act on behalf of the principal.

  • A general power of attorney is more expansive, allowing the Estate Lawyer to make legal and financial