A California POA can only be created by a director who is 18 years of age or older. The principal must also have the legal capacity to enter into a contract. A general or limited POA must be signed by the principal and two witnesses or a notary. A power of attorney essentially allows another person to make decisions on your behalf.
In its simplest form, a document that acts as a power of attorney can be life-changing, life-saving, and very dangerous in the wrong hands. Because of that, and because of the value we place on freedom of choice and individual freedom, creating and legitimizing a power of attorney in California requires a few steps. A general power of attorney gives broad powers of attorney to an agent. Basically, the agent has the same authority as you to make decisions, manage your financial affairs, and manage your assets.
A notable exception to this is that agents cannot give each other money or property that belongs to the principal. A POA is a simple document that gives specific powers to someone you trust called an agent or de facto attorney to handle certain issues for you. If the idea of giving your agent authority to handle a wide range of tasks makes you uncomfortable, the solution may be a limited power of attorney. If you used the California statutory POA form, it will say, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED ABOVE, THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND WILL CONTINUE UNTIL REVOKED.
You don't need an attorney to enact a power of attorney and you can use a power of attorney form that can be filled out for free. It is wise to consult a legal professional if you have specific questions or want a more detailed explanation of the rules and requirements, or anything else in the Probate Code. Such a document can give someone the power to keep their life in their hands, refuse or accept extraordinary treatments and measures, and do so for months. Many power of attorney documents are designed to allow a close friend or relative to purchase property or vehicle in your name while you are out of town, for example.
Unless the principal decides to make a power of attorney durable, the authority granted to an agent ends in the event of incompetence or incapacity of the principal. Giving authority to an agent through a power of attorney does not prevent them from making decisions and managing their affairs. It can also be the power of attorney to use if you want someone to take over and take care of everything in case you are unable to do so due to physical impediments that limit your ability to do so. Health care directives are legal documents that help healthcare professionals determine what to do if you are unavailable and disabled.
These institutions and professionals are obliged to review the document of their agent's power of attorney when acting on their behalf. What differentiates a power of attorney from any piece of paper that states that someone is your representative is a notarization process and a set of legal requirements necessary for a power of attorney document to be valid in the state of California. Keep in mind that a power of attorney is a legal document, it must be signed when you are legally competent to do so. Most power of attorney documents not only give another person the right to act on behalf of the principal without a specific reason or purpose, and therefore tend to fall within one of several archetypes.