Suppose that a person A signed a loan for his ex gf B to buy a new car when they were together, but later they broke up. She moved to California with said car. Both of their names are on the title and registration. She has done nothing but make tiny baby steps towards refinancing so his name is off the title and loan. He tried sending a power of attorney so that she can do anything she needs to, but apparently California doesn't accept them?

Is there any way he can get a lawyer involved to force her to get this done?

  • As edited this asks what the law permits, and is not a request or specific legal advice (RSLA), and should not be closed on that basis. IMO it was not a RSLA as originally posted, but I think that is now clearer. Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 19:20
  • Asking a lawyer to get involved would be a great way to get a lawyer involved, certainly as compared to asking random yoohoos on the Internet.
    – bdb484
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


A Cannot Compel B to Refinance

A cannot force B to refinance at all any more than he could force her to return a gift of money that he made while they were together. Hr can probably insist that his name be removed from the title so that he is not liable for any accidents or violations tht occur as she is driving the car. But he will remain on the loan until it is paid off or she chooses to refinance. He could offer her payment in return for doing a refinance, but she would not have to accept.

Power of Attorney

The California law of powers of attorney (PoA) is Probate code, Division 4.5, CHAPTER 2. Creation and Effect of Powers of Attorney {sections 4120 - 4130}.

This requires that a PoA be signed before at least two adult witnesses (neither of whom is being granted the PoA) or a notary, that it include the date when it is signed, and that the witnesses see it signed or hear the principal (person granting the PoA) state that he has signed it as a PoA.

Section 41123 reads:

(a) In a power of attorney under this division, a principal may grant authority to an attorney-in-fact to act on the principal’s behalf with respect to all lawful subjects and purposes or with respect to one or more express subjects or purposes. The attorney-in-fact may be granted authority with regard to the principal’s property, personal care, or any other matter.

(b) With regard to property matters, a power of attorney may grant authority to make decisions concerning all or part of the principal’s real and personal property, whether owned by the principal at the time of the execution of the power of attorney or thereafter acquired or whether located in this state or elsewhere, without the need for a description of each item or parcel of property.

Section 4264 reads:

An attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney may perform any of the following acts on behalf of the principal or with the property of the principal only if the power of attorney expressly grants that authority to the attorney-in-fact:


(c) Make or revoke a gift of the principal’s property in trust or otherwise.


(e) Create or change survivorship interests in the principal’s property or in property in which the principal may have an interest.

(f) Designate or change the designation of beneficiaries to receive any property, benefit, or contract right on the principal’s death.

(g) Make a loan to the attorney-in-fact.

Section 4266 reads:

The grant of authority to an attorney-in-fact, whether by the power of attorney, by statute, or by the court, does not in itself require or permit the exercise of the power. The exercise of authority by an attorney-in-fact is subject to the attorney-in-fact’s fiduciary duties.

Section 4300 reads:

A third person shall accord an attorney-in-fact acting pursuant to the provisions of a power of attorney the same rights and privileges that would be accorded the principal if the principal were personally present and seeking to act. However, a third person is not required to honor the attorney-in-fact’s authority or conduct business with the attorney-in-fact if the principal cannot require the third person to act or conduct business in the same circumstances.

Section 4302 reads:

When requested to engage in transactions with an attorney-in-fact, a third person, before incurring any duty to comply with the power of attorney, may require the attorney-in-fact to provide identification, specimens of the signatures of the principal and the attorney-in-fact, and any other information reasonably necessary or appropriate to identify the principal and the attorney-in-fact and to facilitate the actions of the third person in transacting business with the attorney-in-fact. A third person may require an attorney-in-fact to provide the current and permanent residence addresses of the principal before agreeing to engage in a transaction with the attorney-in-fact.

S ection 4310 reads:

Without limiting the generality of Section 4300, nothing in this chapter requires a financial institution to open a deposit account for a principal at the request of an attorney-in-fact if the principal is not currently a depositor of the financial institution or to make a loan to the attorney-in-fact on the principal’s behalf if the principal is not currently a borrower of the financial institution.

So California does recognize a power of attorney if it is properly executed (witnesses or notary). But a third party may not have accepted it. Or party B may simply not have used it. Party B cannot be compelled to act under the PoA.

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