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California Power of Attorney Duties to Keep Records, Account, and Avoid Conflicts of Interest


California statutory law governs the acts of agents acting under a power of attorney. Some people may have opinions on what an agent acting under a power of attorney can do, but having an opinion and knowing the law are two different things.


The law on powers of attorney are quite expansive and are codified by statute under Probate Code sections 4000-4545.


In California, an agent acting under a power of attorney has a legal duty to keep records of all transactions made on behalf of the principal.  See Probate Code section 4236.  A power of attorney ends at the death of the principal. If a person is taking action as power of attorney after the death of an individual such actions are unlawful and should be rectified.


Various persons, including, but not limited to, the principal, a conservator, or a successor in interest (post-death) are entitled to records of transactions and an accounting of the acts of an agent. See Probate Code section 4236.


An agent generally cannot take acts that are a conflict of interest with the principal. See Probate Code section 4232.


If an agent breaches any of these duties, then the agent could be held liable under Probate Code section 4231.5 for any loss or depreciation in the value of the principal's assets with interest; any profit you made with interest; and any lost profit to the principal.


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