Even if you are a resident in California, and have created a trust, will or living will, your insurance mix is still not complete without a California durable power of attorney. A power of attorney gives you the legal permission to confer upon your spouse or relative, the powers to act on your behalf if and when you become incapacitated.
This article exposes you to what a California durable power of attorney is and why you need one, among other things.
What is California Durable Power of Attorney?
A California Durable Power of Attorney form confers on an individual the rights to appoint an agent to act on his/her behalf in legal and financial matters in the event that he/she gets incapacitated mentally or physically and cannot take decisions on his/her own. The one who appoints another is called the principal while the appointee is called the attorney-in-fact or agent.
A durable power of attorney form completed in its entirety defines the scope of the agent’s powers. It states in clear, concise terms what the agent presides over, general or related to a specific matter. It also specifies the date when the document becomes effective, how the power can be revoked and under what conditions the attorney-in-fact must operate.
Since the agent is expected to function in the best interests of the principal, it is usually recommended that the principal chooses a spouse, relative or family friend very dear to them.
The content of a California durable power of attorney form in contrast to a non-durable form remains valid even when the principal is incapacitated. A non-durable form, on the other hand, is no longer recognizable under the law once the principal gets incapacitated.
Why Would You Use a California Durable Power of Attorney Form?
You’ve probably heard so much about a California Durable power of attorney form. However, only a few people or websites go into details about why you need one. Here are some of the reasons why.
In the event that you reside in California, become mentally or physically incapacitated and can’t make certain decisions for yourself whether regarding your health or properties, who acts on your behalf? That is what a power of attorney defines. This form presents you with a golden opportunity to appoint an individual to act on your behalf, if and when, you become incapacitated.
But this form isn’t only meant for someone preparing for such a sad event or a sick individual, is it? You can also prepare one if you need someone to represent you in certain business transactions in your absence. If you travel out of the state frequently and are probably not available to attend to delicate matters concerning your finances, tax-related issues or real-estate matters, a power of attorney form can solve your problems in a blink.
Without an agent, recognized under the stipulates of the law, these transactions cannot be made in your absence.
Stating in clear and concise terms the responsibilities and powers of the agent is as important as filing the form in the first place. As it is with other legal documents, everything must be written in black and white and in clear language.
It is important to note that you can revoke the powers of your agent at any time you deem fit.
How to Get A Durable Power of Attorney in California?
Under the provisions of the California legislature, you might find a durable power of attorney form California at a local library or download from a reputable website. There are two main types of these forms.
California Financial Power of Attorney Form: Titled “Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney", the California Power of Attorney form becomes effective as soon as both parties sign on it. The only exception is when you add a clause saying that the power of attorney only holds after a particular date, which is usually included in the ‘Special Instructions’ section.
Also this form is usually a durable one, except otherwise stated. To make the power of attorney non-durable, you must cancel out the clause “This power of attorney will continue in effect even though I become incapacitated.”
California Health Care Power of Attorney Form: This form titled “Advance health Care Directive” also contains a living will , designation of a healthcare provider and provision for organ donation. In the event that you are a patient in a nursing facility, the signing of the form must be witnessed by a legally designated patient advocate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if I appoint an agent and the court later appoints a court of attorney for my estate?
Unless otherwise stated by the court or conservator, your agent remains poised to act on your behalf based on the instructions provided in the power of attorney document you have drafted.
Do I still need a will after completing a durable power of attorney in California?
Yes, you do. A last will is as important as a durable power of attorney in California. This is because a durable power of attorney is only valid as long as you are still alive. In other words, it is rendered null and void after your demise. On the other hand, a last will outlives you. It is what becomes effective after you are gone. What other way do you have to explain how your properties are to be shared if not via a last will.
What do I do to prove my power of attorney if it is being contested?
It is common to see banks, medical groups and investment firms initially refuse your power of attorney. This is because institutions like these in California have some laid down procedures and protocols to be followed before approving your power of attorney. Most often than not, you may be required to fill out the power of attorney form they will provide you with. It is the agent you appoint using this form they then duly recognize.
Do I need an attorney to prepare a durable power of attorney?
No, you don’t need one. It is however recommended. Under the provisions of California law, should you choose to appoint an agent without the assistance of a lawyer, you are required to attack certain notices warning both the principal and their attorney-in-fact of their legal obligations
Is my durable power of attorney revocable?
Yes, you can revoke your durable power of attorney at almost any time you deem fit. However, you must first sign a revocation power of attorney document and notarize it.
If you are yet to draft a durable power of attorney or do not have one customized to suit the laws of California, you aren’t far away from help. You can download a free California durable power of attorney template or fillable form on CocoSign’s platform.
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