Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
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Making sense of a power of attorney

In addition to normal wills and living wills, another document that is useful for California residents to have is a power of attorney. According to the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, this document gives someone else the power to act in the principal’s place. While it sounds simple, there are many factors that need to be considered.


A power of attorney is no longer valid once the issuer is deceased. In fact, if the principal is unable to competently make decisions, the power of attorney becomes void unless the document specifies otherwise. There may also be other restrictions placed by the author to prevent the chosen representative from gaining too much control.


There are three different types of agreements: special, limited and general. These documents are considered special if they are created only for certain situations, for instance, in the case of medical decisions. Limited agreements can also be designed that will transfer control in a designated way. If principals need to allow a representative to handle multiple responsibilities, a general power of attorney may be created. This document gives the named person the right to perform any legal action. Obviously, this transfer of authority is more extensive and requires care to be sure that the right person is selected.


The American Bar Association offers several occasions when a power of attorney may be beneficial or necessary. If someone operates one or multiple businesses, the document will allow another to step in should illness or disability prevent the principal from completing necessary actions. Powers of attorney are also often used simply for convenience of the author to delegate responsibilities to others.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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