A power of attorney form is a legal document giving someone else, called the “agent,” the ability to act on your behalf in matters related to finance, property, or medical decisions.
You can use this agreement to have someone manage your affairs and sign day-to-day paperwork when you’re traveling, or to plan for a time when you may become “incapacitated” due to injury or illness, and can’t make decisions for yourself.
As important as having a power of attorney form is having the right one, and you should know what a power of attorney is before signing. In addition, you may need more than one type of power of attorney depending on your circumstance.
Find your power of attorney form for California (CA) by type below.
California (CA) Power of Attorney Documents
California Real Estate Power of Attorney
A real estate power of attorney is a type of limited power of attorney that grants an agent powers to act solely in matters pertaining to the principal’s real property.
The above power of attorney sample is not durable. To make your real estate power of attorney durable, add the following statement to the “Special Instructions” Section:
This power of attorney will continue to be effective even though I become incapacitated.
How to Get Power of Attorney in California
To set up a power of attorney, both the agent and principal fill out and sign a power of attorney form.
California power of attorney forms can be downloaded from the Sacramento County Public Law Library, but you’re not required to use these exact forms. The state only recommends that you use similar language to what is used in the official form.
The more closely a POA document is customized to your circumstance, the better it will serve you.
Examples of powers you can transfer include (but are not limited to):
- Negotiate and sign contracts for purchases, such as homes or vehicles
- Handle banking transactions, including deposits and withdrawals
- Pay bills
- Buy or sell property
- File tax returns with the IRS
- Arrange the distribution of retirement benefits
- Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal) benefits
Even if a power of attorney contains a phrase such as “all other powers are granted,” there are certain tasks that agents cannot perform. According to California Probate Code Section 4264, an agent cannot make or change a will. However, an agent can establish a trust for the principal if it’s specifically noted in the POA document.
All powers of attorney cease to be effective when the principal dies. At that point, the last will and testament goes into effect
In California, an agent can only use a principal’s assets if they are specifically gifted to him or her. It is illegal for agents to make gifts to themselves. Also, an agent who takes the money or personal property of a principal 65 years or older without consent can be charged with elder abuse.
California POA Requirements
In California, any individual 18 years or older who can read and understand a contract can create a power of attorney.
The power of attorney document must comply with regulations outlined in the California Probate Code (Sections 4000 through 4465).
For a power of attorney to be legally sufficient in California, it must:
- carry the date of execution (that is, the date on which all parties have signed the POA)
- be signed by the person seeking it (that is, the principal)
- If the principal is unable to sign, they must direct another to sign it on their behalf and watch said person affix a signature.
- notarized or signed in front of two other witnesses
A California health care directive must be signed by a notary public or signed by the principal in front of two witnesses (the two witnesses also must sign the directive). The principal’s agent, health care provider, or an employee of the provider cannot be witnesses.
Unless a certain date or event is specified, a power of attorney is effective immediately and continues to be in effect until it is revoked.