CNBC reported in 2022 that 33% of Americans have some type of estate plan in place. Estate planning can include various tools, such as wills, trusts or powers of attorney.
A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on your behalf in various matters. California requires certain elements to make a power of attorney valid.
The power of attorney document must be in writing and must clearly outline the powers you want to grant and the specific responsibilities of the agent you appoint. This ensures clarity and prevents potential misunderstandings.
You must be of sound mind at the time of executing the document. This requirement underscores the importance of mental capacity in making decisions about delegating authority. To create this document, you have to give your consent, which you cannot do if you are under mental duress or incapacitated in any way. You must willingly and voluntarily grant the authority to the chosen agent while free from coercion or undue influence.
A valid power of attorney must have your signature. You must sign it in the presence of a notary public or two adult witnesses who can attest to the authenticity of the signature and confirm you executed the document voluntarily.
A power of attorney can be a powerful tool in your estate plan. However, you must ensure it is valid. By adhering to the legal requirements, you can ensure it stands as a legally sound representation of your wishes and intentions.