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By: Cava Faulkner

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Power of Attorney in California?

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California law does not require individuals to hire an attorney to obtain a power of attorney (POA) to manage their affairs. However, because power of attorney documents pertain to legal affairs such as managing finances and healthcare decisions, it is a sound idea to consult with an attorney before making any decisions.

A power of attorney document grants the agent, the individual you designate to manage your affairs, the legal authority to carry out transactions on your behalf without asking your permission to do so beforehand. Therefore, it is wise to consult with an attorney in advance to understand the scope of the document that you intend to sign in order to protect your interests.

How Do I Establish a Power of Attorney on My Own?

The first thing that you will need is a power of attorney form. You can find an official form offered by the state of California online. This form allows you to choose what type of POA you would like to have. For example, you may choose a healthcare power of attorney or financial power of attorney legal document.

In order to create a legally valid power of attorney document, you and your agent need to both need to be adults and considered to be of sound mind. You must also have witnesses or a notary present.

If you plan to create a POA document without an attorney, then you need to remember the following:

  • Your agent cannot also be one of your witnesses or the notary
  • Your witnesses cannot be your healthcare provider, an employee of your healthcare provider, or any individual related to the healthcare provider

Can I Assign My Spouse to be My Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney document allows your agent to manage and carry out your financial affairs in the event that you are unwilling or unable to do so for yourself. If you desire your spouse to be your durable power of attorney, then they must sign a power of attorney document in your presence. This must be done in front of a notary. If signing before a notary is not possible, then you are also permitted to sign in front of at least two witnesses who are mentally capable of providing sworn testimony should the need arise.

Can a Family Member be a Witness for a Power of Attorney?

Texas law does permit a family member to be a witness on a power of attorney document. Of course, it is worth mentioning again that in order for a POA to be valid, the document must be signed by two witnesses.

Although the law does permit a family member to be a witness, one piece of sound legal advice is that it is always best to have disinterested parties act as a witness for legal documents. This often helps to avoid conflict or disputes at a later time.

Can an Attorney Advise Me About Composing a Power of Attorney on My Own?

If you would like to know more information about composing a power of attorney, you are welcome to call our law offices of Cava and Faulkner at 916-685-1225. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation in order to answer any questions that you may have.