Nominating a power of attorney in California

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

California residents who either cannot or do not want to make legal decisions for themselves may have a designated power of attorney speak for them. 

Before an individual nominates an attorney-in-fact, it is critical to consider which responsibilities he or she will relinquish as well as which qualities to look for in an agent. 

Selecting the right type of POA 

The Sacramento County Public Law Library outlines six power of attorney types that California recognizes. The POAs duties can range from broad capacities to specific functions with a limited or indefinite term. The basic designations of POA are as follows: 

  • A durable health care POA carries out the principal’s Advance Health Care Directive 
  • A general financial POA can manage any type of affairs for the principal excluding health care 
  • A durable financial POA continues his or her duties after a principal’s incapacitation 
  • A military POA operates under federal law for service members 
  • A limited POA performs specialized duties named by the principal 
  • A financial institution POA is specific to a particular bank or other financial organization such as the IRS 

Notable limits to power of attorney include activities that create or alter the principal’s will and court representation. 

Choosing the right attorney-in-fact 

Verywell Health suggests that principals carefully evaluate candidates for power of attorney and discuss the decision with the individual before making the designation. An ideal attorney-in-fact might reside nearby so that he or she could quickly reach the principal’s side in case of an emergency. Additionally, POAs should display qualities such as honesty, reliability and selflessness, which would allow them to put their own needs aside in favor of the principal. 

Health care POAs should also be able to communicate clearly and effectively and have a working knowledge of medical processes. They should have an assertive nature that would allow them to stand up to family and friends to defend the principal’s wishes. 

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