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Does a POA Have to Be Filed With the Court in California?

What is a Power of Attorney?

Creating a Power of Attorney (POA) form is like choosing someone you trust to make important decisions for you when you can’t. This might happen if you get hurt in a car accident or have a health problem that makes it hard for you to take care of yourself. You can pick someone you trust to make choices for you until you feel better.

You can also use a Power of Attorney to help with money matters, like deciding what to do with your savings or paying bills. If you’re away from home and can’t take care of these things yourself, someone with your POA can do them for you.

What are the Options for Power of Attorney?

In California, there are many different types of powers of attorney. They are: general, limited or special, durable, springing, and medical power of attorney.

A general power of attorney can do many different things for the person they represent. However, if that person becomes unable to make decisions, the general power of attorney can no longer act on their behalf.

A limited or special power of attorney is set up for a certain amount of time and to do specific things. Once that time is up, the person they represent can no longer make decisions for them.

A durable power of attorney is like a general power of attorney, but it doesn’t end if the person they represent becomes unable to make decisions.

A springing power of attorney is appointed to handle specific issues that come up if the person they represent becomes unable to make decisions. For example, if someone is in an accident and can’t make medical decisions, they can appoint a springing power of attorney to make decisions for them.

A medical power of attorney gives the power to make medical decisions to someone else if the person they represent can no longer make those decisions. For example, if someone has dementia and can’t make medical decisions for themselves anymore.

How Can I Ensure my POA is Legally Enforceable?

To ensure that the POA paperwork you created is legally enforceable and requires the individual setting it up to be of sound mind and at least 18 years old or older.

The POA document must be signed by you and be notarized.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can also help to ensure your documents are in order and enforceable when you need to rely on them. Nothing is worse than attempting to provide support and clarity for your loved ones, only to find out you made an error in the process and the paperwork is invalid. An experienced estate planning attorney can walk you through each step and ensure your documents are accurate and valid.

When Does the POA End?

Sometimes a POA will end, or stop being valid. Here are some reasons why that might happen:

– If the POA has an end date written in it, like a specific date when it stops being valid, then the person with the power will stop making decisions on that date.

– If the person who gave the POA decides they don’t want that person making decisions for them anymore, they can cancel the POA. To make sure everyone knows the POA is cancelled, it’s essential to write it down and sign it.

– If the person who gave the POA becomes unable to make their own decisions and the POA doesn’t say it should keep going even if they can’t, then the person with the power won’t be able to make decisions anymore.

– If the person who gave the POA dies, the person with the power won’t be able to make decisions anymore. But sometimes the POA says someone else can take over if that happens.

Do I Need to File the POA Paperwork with the Courts?

Barring exceptions, you do not need to file the POA paperwork with the courts. If you want your POA to be responsible for real estate transactions, this is when you would need to file the paperwork with the courts and include a legal description of the property. Remember that you can have an expiration date for the POA’s duties within this paperwork.

Can Businesses Reject a POA?

In some cases, businesses will choose to reject a POA. If they suspect that the agent is acting beyond the scope of the duties or elder abuse is suspected, the business may decide to reject the POA.

If the agent or POA attempts to conduct illegal actions, businesses will likely reject the POA.

If the business has a valid reason to suspect that the agent’s duties have ceased and the POA is no longer active, they may reject the POA.

If there is more than one agent and the business receives conflicting information or direction, they may temporarily reject the POA until clarification is provided.

How Can An Estate Planning Attorney Help?

Most of us haven’t had to form a POA in the past and have chosen to look into it to protect our family members or handle important information for us on our behalf. The duty of a POA requires complete trust and the agent has a myriad of responsibilities. This makes choosing the right one crucial to the planning process.

An experienced estate attorney can help you choose the right agent, establish a clear direction for your wishes, and help you understand what problems may arise so you can avoid them.

Contact me today at (805) 244-5291 for your free, in-depth peace of mind planning session and to ensure your planning efforts are valid and enforceable.

Estate Planning Attorney Eric Ridley