Power of Attorney Defined
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POWER OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney is a document that allows one person to appoint another person to act as their agent to perform specified acts or to handle their affairs. The person to whom a power of attorney is given is referred to as an "attorney-in-fact" or "agent."

Specific Power of Attorney. If the power entrusted is for a specific purpose or task, it is known as a specific or special or limited power of attorney. Examples are power of attorney for (i) financial matters, (ii) healthcare decisions, (iii) probate, etc. Each is granted for a specific purpose and limited to the matters described in the document. A limited power of attorney for voting in an HOA election is specifically addressed by the Davis-Stirling Act. The holder of that particular power of attorney (election proxy) must be a member of the association if the authorizing document is to have any force and effect. (Civ. Code §5130(a)(1).) Moreover, the election proxy must have a specific format to be effective.

General Power of Attorney. If the power of attorney conveys broad general powers to an agent, it is known as a general power of attorney. While a specific power of attorney ends when the agent's task is completed, a general power of attorney comes to an end when the principal dies or when the principal cancels it by issuing a notice to his agent. An nonmember with a general power of attorney is authorized by statute to vote on behalf of a member. (Civ. Code §5105(g)(3).)

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