Duty to Account by a Person who is an agent under a Power of Attorney in California

In California, your agent under a power of attorney has a duty to account to the principal who created the power. California has particular laws having to do with the power of attorney accounting by an agent acting under a power of attorney.  Below you will find a basic list of the extend of the duty to account in power of attorney situations.

First, the Probate Code states that the agent may consult with some specific persons, if the principal is incapacitated.  An agent under the power of attorney whose principal has become incapacitated may talk to the principal’s spouse, physician, attorney, accountant, a member of the principal’s family, or other person, business entity, or government agency to help him figure out what the principal may have wanted.

Next, the Probate Code specifically provides that the agent under a power of attorney must keep track, which may include books and records of all transactions entered into by the attorney-in-fact on behalf of the principal.  If the agent acts in one transaction, he is not required to act in the next transaction, unless he has signed an acceptance to act.

To whom must an agent under a power of attorney account in California?

  1.  Account to the principal, when he or she asks for it.
  2.  If the power of attorney document asks for an accounting, and says to whom an account must be made, then the agent must account per the document.
  3. A Conservator of the estate of the principal may ask for an accounting, while the principal is alive.
  4.  An executor or administrator (called personal representative) of the principal may request an accounting, after the principal dies.
  5. If the court orders the agent to account, he/she must to so.

It is very important that if the principal dies, that a probate executor or administrator be appointed to obtain the records of the principal, if no accounting has ever been done by the agent.   We believe there are may cases of abuse by agents who have obtained power of attorney forms while the principal was incapacitated, or abuse after the principal has fallen ill.  Ask our attorney about how we can help you monitor and make the agent under the power of attorney account, or in a conservatorship proceeding.  Call Mina Sirkin, Lawyer for Power of Attorney problems and conservatorships in Los Angeles County at 818.340.4479 or email info@sirkinlaw.com.