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General (Financial) Power of Attorney Form

Create a customized and printable General Power of Attorney form for your individual financial affairs and necessities today.

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California

Last Update June 20th, 2022

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What is a General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney is a form of financial POA by which you (the Principal) could appoint an Agent (or Attorney-in-Fact) to manage all of your financial necessities from a specified date (normally as soon as the document is signed). General powers of attorney allow agents to take any legal actions their principals may take.

This arrangement can continue indefinitely or until the legal instrument is revoked by you or you become incapacitated and unable to grant consent to these powers yourself. You can also specify a set date that the Agent’s authority will naturally come to an end.

Once it comes into effect, a General Power of Attorney permits your Attorney in Fact to handle almost any financial and legal duty you may need to be performed for you including:

  • Signing contracts

  • Buying and selling stocks and bonds

  • Managing your property assets

  • Collecting government or military pensions

  • Invoke or waive the principal’s contractual rights

  • Managing business transactions

  • Making financial gifts to family members and employees 

In most jurisdictions, even a general power of attorney is not unlimited due to statute or court precedent. There are some special limitations to Financial Power of Attorneys that apply in all cases. Namely, the Agent must always perform these tasks in your best interests at all times. They are also not allowed to alter your will or financially enrich themselves from your assets unless you specifically grant them these powers. For example, some jurisdictions might prohibit attorneys in fact from using their principals' assets to pay themselves.

Additionally, you will have options when creating your POA template to limit or assign specific powers. If for example, you don’t have any stocks and bonds you may choose not to grant this authority to your Agent.

General vs Durable Power of Attorney

The big difference between General POA vs Durable POA is that a General Power of Attorney document ends as soon as you become incapacitated. This differs from “Durable” templates which can continue to remain in effect even if you become mentally or physically unable to act for yourself.

Because of the extra strength of the “Durable” document, it is possible to get both financial and medical versions of this form, also known as “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”. However, these are two separate documents and have to be completed and signed independently of one another. It is not possible to create a General Power of Attorney for medical purposes.

How to Get a General or Financial Power of Attorney

To create a General Power of Attorney template you should first consider what your necessities are. This will be crucial when you come to build your own template. 

Once you have a good idea of what you’ll need an Agent to do, you should then consider who you want to appoint. Remember, this should be a person you trust with the responsibility implicitly. You should also talk with them first to discuss the powers you want to grant before proceeding with your POA and putting it into action.

After that, you should draw up your document and LawDistrict can help you do this. With our General Power of Attorney form, you can easily create your own template which is customized to:

  • Your state’s laws

  • Your exact financial necessities

  • When you want the powers to begin and end

  • How many Agents you want to appoint

Once your document is prepared, you will then need to have it signed and in many cases notarized (depending on your state of residence). After it has been authorized, you should then store the document for when it is needed.

Remember: in order to use the Power of Attorney, your Agent will need to present the document each time they want to sign a contract or agreement on your behalf.

General Power of Attorney Sample

Below you’ll find an example of what a completed General Power of Attorney looks like. This is a generic sample document that cannot be used in all states and in all situations but with LawDistrict’s POA form builder you can easily draw up a printable template that works for you. 

General Power of Attorney FAQ

General Power of Attorneys are very far-reaching documents. If you’re still not sure if this is the right choice for your needs, simply browse our FAQs below.

What is the Difference Between a General and a Durable Power of attorney?

The major difference between a Durable Power of Attorney vs a General POA that the “General” document ends when you become disabled or incapacitated. Durable POAs can continue to be used even after you are mentally or physically incompetent to act for yourself unless otherwise specified.

How To Fill Out a General Power of Attorney?

When you fill out a General Power of Attorney you will need to clearly indicate the extent of the Agent’s powers as well as when they come into effect and end. This can be done either with or without the help of an Attorney at Law.

To create your form you can either find and complete a template online, from a bank or financial institution or from a lawyer (although this will incur additional costs). 

Once you have the consent of the Agent and a clear picture of the powers you want to authorize, you can easily write up the form yourself, or bring in additional expertise if your situation is especially complex.

How to Sign as Power of Attorney?

To sign as a Power of Attorney you will need to bring your completed and authorized document with you to the bank or institution where the financial transaction is taking place. This must be the original signed form and not a copy.

When you sign on behalf of the Principal you must write a signature for yourself and the appointing individual. You must also indicate on the contract or agreement that you are acting as the Principal’s power of attorney.

Who Can Override a Power of Attorney?

You as the Principal retain the right to override a Power of Attorney at any time. In order to do so, you will have to notify the Agent in writing that you have terminated the agreement. You will then need to inform any institution that has filed a copy of your POA that the document is no longer valid.

If a situation arises where a Principal is unable to end the POA themselves, concerned parties will instead need to contact the Attorney-in-Fact requesting them to step down. If they refuse in this situation, you may instead need to take the matter to the law courts.

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