In Birmingham, 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 specific situations, and under specific conditions. Power of attorney might be authorized for any number of reasons, but it is most frequently 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 truly become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Birmingham, 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 Birmingham, Alabama
Power of attorney in Birmingham, Alabama takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your distinct case. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets the attorney-in-fact exercise his or her power once, and in only one instance (laid out by the principal, of course). This is regularly used in business deals, if it is not convenient for the actual party to a deal to be physically present for the signing of some documents, it can be done through an attorney-in-fact. You simply need to give them the right to sign the paperwork on your behalf, and it will be just as binding as if you had signed the documents yourself.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, this does not automatically expire, and can last as long as the principal wishes. It can also be revoked by the principal. For instance, if you want someone to handle your financial affairs for a time, you can give them the relevant power in your power of attorney agreement, and it will last as long as you want it to. Of course, you should only give such authority to someone you trust.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not typically take effect immediately. Alternatively, the power vests on the occurrence of specific condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, authorizing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are typically not so outlandish. Typically the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This grants the principal to make his or her own decisions while they're able, but also ensures that someone they trust will be able to carry out their wishes in the event that they become too sick or weak to express them.
Can a Birmingham, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Setting up a power of attorney arrangement in Birmingham, Alabama can be easy, but it can also be very confusing. It just varies on what you're trying to do. However, if you are at all unsure about how to proceed, it would probably be a good idea to have an attorney draft the agreement for you.