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Challenging a power of attorney document

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

A power of attorney grants a person significant financial or healthcare decision-making authority over someone else. The power of attorney allows one party to act on behalf of another party, who is referred to as the principal. A principal can typically revoke POA authority at will. However, per California law, a third party may petition the court to end the power of attorney authorization if the principal lacks the mental capacity to handle their affairs.

Challenging Power of Attorney

When the principal is mentally incompetent, they may be unable to monitor their POA’s actions effectively. A concerned relative may petition the court to reverse POA actions when the principal suffers from documented and diagnosed mental issues, such as dementia or a severe psychiatric disorder.

Proving the POA abused their authority to serve their personal interests might also be grounds to reverse decisions. Blatantly stealing from the principal could be one example of abuse. Also, someone may take action when it becomes evident the POA is negligent or irresponsible in their duties and mismanages the principal’s assets.

Legal issues and POA authority

For power of attorney documents to be valid, they must adhere to state law. The document could be legally worthless if the power of attorney document does not follow the rules established by California statutes. POA forms signed under duress or fraud might lead the party responsible for such egregious actions into legal trouble beyond estate litigation matters.

Those contesting a principal’s power of attorney must present compelling evidence to the court. Making claims would not likely be enough. It may be necessary to provide convincing proof or demonstrate an inability to act, as well as unethical behavior on the agent’s part.