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. California requires that the signature of the principal of the power of attorney be recognized and registered by a notary or that two witnesses acknowledge receipt.
Any witness to the power of attorney document must witness the signature of the document or the notary's acknowledgment of receipt. A notary can notarize the durable power of attorney in addition to signing it in front of at least two witnesses. Yes, California law requires that the permanent power of attorney be notarized or signed by at least two witnesses. In California, a director cannot act as one of the witnesses.
If a person is a patient in a skilled nursing facility, the permanent power of attorney for health care is not effective unless signed as a witness by a patient advocate or ombudsman, either as one of the two witnesses or in addition to the notarized certification. California requires that the person who makes a power of attorney have a certain mental capacity, called the ability to contract. A power of attorney is a document that gives another person (called your “agent”) the right to act on your behalf (where you are the “principal”) within the scope and limitations set forth in the document. When you create a POA, you are called the principal and the person you choose to act on your behalf is called your de facto agent or agent.
There are four types of power of attorney in California, including a permanent power of attorney, a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney, and a power of attorney for health care. When you sign as a power of attorney for someone, you should be aware that you are legally signing on their behalf. 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. If you are uncomfortable giving absolute control to a person, but want the assurance of having an official and legal representative when you are incapacitated, you can create a limited power of attorney.
The act for which you have a power of attorney can be very specific, such as a power of attorney to sign your name on a check or other important document. It is possible to create a condition that must be satisfied before the POA goes into effect, such as having a doctor declare that you are incapacitated, but there are many reasons why this type of emergent power of attorney is not usually recommended. In a permanent power of attorney, your agent can make decisions on your behalf regardless of your mental state. Because a power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you can have, it's important to know if you want a durable or regular power of attorney.
Witnesses are there to confirm that the person signing the power of attorney does so freely without undue pressure or threat from family members. For example, if the principal's family member uses someone else's identification to sign as an independent witness, this is an act of fraud. On the other hand, a health care power of attorney document gives a trusted loved one or friend the right to make decisions about their health care, if they are mentally incapacitated or incapacitated.