Much is made by people in Woodland Hills about the authority granted to those given power of attorney. What is often overlooked, however, are the duties that come with such a role. You may have been led to believe that whomever you entrusted to handle your affairs through power of attorney has carte blanche to do whatever he or she wants. That is not the case.
The duties of those entrusted with powers of attorney can be found in the California Probate Code. First and foremost, however, it should be understood that whomever you endow with powers of attorney is only obligated to fulfill those duties in those areas that you designate. In general, whoever is entrusted with power of attorney is expected to fulfill his or her obligations pursuant to the terms that the two of you agreed upon. He or she should complete those duties with the same judgment and care you would expect from a reasonably prudent person. If you chose to grant him or her power of attorney based on any special skills he or she claimed to have, he or she should be expected to act up to the standard one possessing such skills would.
If whomever holds power of attorney for you fails to fulfill his or her duties, he or she made be held responsible for the following:
- Any loss or depreciation of value in any of your property due to his or her failures, with interest
- Any profit you may have made if not for his or her failures
- Any profit his or her breach of duty produced, with interest
However, the court may excuse one with power of attorney from liability if it is believed that he or she acted in good faith.