California Power of Attorney Forms
The California Power of Attorney Forms are designed to give an individual, who is referred to as the “Principal”, the ability to empower a trusted party, (who is referred to as the “Agent”) with permission to conduct their personal and business affairs. Two of the main types of Power of Attorney (POA) are durable and general. However, there are many forms with specific use-cases, such as those relating to real estate, medical issues, and the principal’s taxes. Due to the liability that goes along with the forms, hiring a trusted, experienced estate planning attorney is recommended to ensure the form is the correct one for the principal’s situation.
Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney Form – Used for assigning power regarding finances. The “durable” nature of the document means it continues to stay in effect after the principal becomes incapacitated.
General (Financial) Power of Attorney Form – Unlike the durable POA, the general POA will terminate if the principal were to become incapacitated. Used for granting power over all-encompassing or specific topics relating to finances.
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney Form – A form that is used for granting power for only specific circumstances. Generally a non-durable form.
Medical Power of Attorney Form – A form compliant with the California Uniform Health Care Decisions Act that is used to grant another party the power to make decisions about the principal’s health and medical matters.
Minor Child Power of Attorney Form – If parents are not able to make decisions regarding the care of their child due to military active duty, prison, or for other reasons, they use the form to nominate a trustworthy individual to take care of their child (with full parental rights).
Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney (Form Reg 260) – A legal form provided by the state of California DMV that allows the owner of a vehicle to hand over responsibility to their agent for one or many matters, such as the selling or registering of their car.
Download – Adobe PDF (.pdf)
Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney Form – If a homeowner wants to pass on responsibility for matters concerning their property to another person/entity, the real estate POA allows them to do so. Can also be used for giving an individual permission to purchase a house in their name.
Revocation of Power of Attorney Form – In California, the principal has the right to revoke a power of attorney form for any reason; this form is used to formally terminate the POA.
State Tax Filing Power of Attorney (Form FTB 3520) – Tax-paying adults can use the document to elect a qualified professional to view, handle, and file taxes on their behalf.
Download – Adobe PDF (.pdf)
What is a California Power of Attorney?
A California Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that makes it possible for an agent to act on behalf of the principal in situations where they are unable to do so for whatever reason. In order to be legally executed, it must remain in-line with the provisions required by California law.
- California Power of Attorney Laws: (Division 4.5, §4000 to §4545 , “Powers of Attorney”)
- State Definition of Power of Attorney (Division 4.5, Ch.1, §4022): “‘Power of Attorney’ means a written instrument, however denominated, that is executed by a natural person having the capacity to contract and that grants authority to an attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney may be durable or nondurable.”
- Signing Requirements (Division 4.5, Ch.2, § 4121): The document needs to be 1) signed by the principal or by an individual permitted by the principal to sign in their name, and (2), the form needs to be signed in the presence of two (2) witnesses (per Ch.2, § 4122) or acknowledged by a Notary Public.
When is it Effective?
As outlined by Division 4.5, Ch.2, § 4121, for a California Power of Attorney to be effective, the following must be true:
- The POA contains the date of its execution.
- The principal signs the document; if not the principal, someone who was chosen by the principal to sign in their name.
- The signing of the form is witnessed by two (2) witnesses or acknowledged by a Notary Public.