If you already recognize the benefits of establishing a power of attorney, you may assume that the simplest route to complete it is downloading a form from the internet. A power of attorney appoints another person, referred to as an agent, to take on specific responsibilities or general duties based on how you outline the power of attorney document.

Since the selection of this individual is so important, and you’re giving them a great deal of responsibility, it is very important to ensure that the document is accurate. A power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you’ll create. Each state has very specific rules about what belongs in a power of attorney, who can be appointed to serve as a power of attorney agent, and what is required at the time the document is signed.

There are many Do-It-Yourself power of attorney forms available online.

However, using a one-size-fits-all form leaves out the possibility of unique considerations that you may wish to incorporate in your power of attorney, such as:

  • The scope of the agent’s powers. Certain powers may not be included unless they’re specifically mentioned, for example.
  • Whether the power of attorney will take effect immediately or only at a certain point in the future.
  • Execution-related issues, since some states may require a power of attorney to be notarized, others a signature, and others still require witnesses.

It is very important to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who understands your state’s rules regarding what must be included in the power of attorney and incorporated on signature to make it legally valid. Contact a California estate planning lawyer now to learn more about your planning options and to create a valid power of attorney document.





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