The California durable power of attorney is a legal document one person issues to authorize another person to act on their behalf and represent them before governmental, financial, commercial, and other institutions and third parties.
The person who issues the durable power of attorney (DPOA) is called the principal, while the person who represents the principal is called the attorney-in-fact or the agent.
"Durable” means that a power of attorney remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated or, in some other way, unable to make decisions for themselves.
The principal can issue a durable power of attorney to authorize someone to represent them in the event of their mental or physical disability, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Durable Power of Attorney Laws & Requirements in California
Laws & Requirements
Signing requirements: In California, the durable power of attorney must be signed by the principal or two witnesses, and it must contain the date of execution of the document. (California Probate Code § 4121)
Statutory form: The statutory form can be found in California Probate Code § 4401.
“Durable” definition: “Durable power of attorney” means a power of attorney that satisfies the requirements for durability provided in Section 4124. (California Probate Code § 4018)
How to Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney in California
#1. Designate an Agent
Firstly, provide information about the person you wish to authorize as your agent.
Insert your and your agent’s first and last names and mailing addresses. If necessary, you can provide additional details about your agent, like their ID or professional license number.
Here, you can also provide details about the successor agent. A successor agent is the person who will represent your interests in case the primary agent is unable or unwilling to do so.
#2. Grant Authority
In this section, you should outline the scope of authority you wish your agent to have when representing you. You can also provide a list of third parties they can interact with on your behalf.
Here, you will have three options:
Scope of Authority
General authority. This will enable the agent to take all the necessary actions that are in your interest and represent you before any third party. If you wish, you can provide general authority and limit it by specifying the actions they are not allowed to take.
Partial authority. With this option, you can outline each activity the agent is authorized to take on your behalf. You can do so by signing your initials in front of every authority provided in the durable power of attorney form the agent is authorized to take.
Special authority. Here, you can describe in your own words the scope of authority you want your agent to have. You can also write down the names of all the third parties the agent can interact with on your behalf.
#3. Ensure the Form is Durable
In California, only the durable power of attorney will remain valid even if you become incapacitated or, in some other way, incapable of making your own decisions.
According to state law, a power of attorney is durable only if it fulfills the requirements for durability provided in Section 4124.
#4. Sign the Form
After completing the form, the principal should sign the document. They should also insert the date of execution of the power of attorney.
#5. Notarize the Form
In California, the principal’s signature must be acknowledged by the notary public or at least two witnesses.
#6. Store Your Durable Power of Attorney Form
Finally, you should store your completed and notarized power of attorney in a safe place. You should also provide a copy of the document to the agent and any third parties they are interacting with on your behalf.
How to Revoke a Durable Power of Attorney in California
To revoke the durable power of attorney, you must issue the revocation letter. You can issue the revocation letter as long as you have the capacity.
After creating the revocation letter, you should notify the agent and any relevant third parties so the revocation can take effect.
Besides revocation, the California durable power of attorney will also terminate in the following cases:
Reasons for Termination
If the agent resigns or becomes incapacitated and there is no successor agent
In case the principal dies
After divorce, if the principal and agent were in a marriage