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Strategies for challenging a power of attorney

Financial planners encourage people in California to execute power of attorney (POA) documents in case of an unforeseen emergency. The POA allows the principal to name an agent to act on their behalf in financial and/or healthcare matters. The document generally takes effect when the principal loses the ability to manage their own affairs. As someone who cares about a person whose control has shifted to an agent due to a POA, you may have concerns about the agent’s actions. Certain circumstances could allow to challenge the POA, which you must do in court. Only a court can alter or revoke a POA if the original principal lacks the capacity to do so.

Invalid paperwork

An agent named under a POA often conducts duties related to estate administration. For the POA to grant these powers legitimately, the document’s language must comply with state law. Furthermore, the document must have been signed in the presence of witnesses or a notary depending on the scope of powers defined in the document. Any failings within the documents could empower you to challenge its authority in court.

Incompetent signer

You may have evidence that the principal was already mentally incompetent at the time of signing the POA. Succeeding with this argument poses challenges because you will need testimony from medical experts to support your claim that the principal was not of sound of mind when executing the POA.

Abuse of authority

Conduct by the agent may alarm you to the point where you can claim that the agent is abusing the authority imparted by the POA. This could take the form of neglecting the principal’s physical needs or mismanaging assets. An agent could even engage in outright theft of the principal’s money and assets.