In Andalusia, Alabama, power of attorney is an arrangement in which one person (the principal) gives another (the attorney-in-fact) the capacity to act on the principal's behalf in certain situations, and under certain conditions. Power of attorney might be authorized for any number of reasons, but it is most often set up to allow the attorney-in-fact to make financial and medical decisions on the principal's behalf in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated.
The principal in a power-of-attorney arrangement is the one who decides the scope of the power that the attorney will be able to wield, and the circumstances under which they can wield it. Generally, you can grant the attorney-in-fact as much or as little decision-making power as you'd like. In every case, however, you should only enter a power-of-attorney arrangement with somebody you trust. The nature of the power you should grant depends heavily on the context, and what your wishes are.
For instance, if you have very particular desires for your end-of-life care, but are worried that you won't be able to express your wishes when the time comes, you can grant someone power of attorney in advance, so they'll be able to ensure that your wishes are carried out, if necessary. You should draft an agreement giving the attorney-in-fact power of attorney only in the event that you actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Andalusia, Alabama, you can sometimes find pre-printed forms that let you easily draft a power-of-attorney agreement. However, if your situation is particularly complex, you should probably have a lawyer draft it for you, to ensure that the agreement is enforceable, or that there are no surprises.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Andalusia, Alabama
Power of attorney in Andalusia, Alabama takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual case. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - limited power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the power to act on your behalf on a single issue, in a single transaction. For instance, if you are purchasing a house in another state, you may wish to grant limited power of attorney to a friend or relative who lives in that state, so they can sign all of the relevant documents on your behalf, so you don't have to incur travel expenses. For obvious reasons, you should only grant this authority to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
2. Durable power of attorney - this lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a certain, defined area of the principal's affairs. Durable power of attorney doesn't automatically disappear, and can last indefinitely, or until the principal revokes it. This can be very useful, because it allows the attorney-in-fact to make critical decisions for the principal, but allows the principal to revoke the power if they regain the capacity to make their own decisions.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some specific event takes place. This event can be anything. Most often, however, the agreement allows the attorney-in-fact to make important medical and financial decisions for the principal, only in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated. However, there are sometimes disagreements over whether or not a person is actually "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to determine the issue.
Can a Andalusia, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Andalusia, Alabama, it's never imprudent to at least consult with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.