In Cullman, 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 particular situations, and under particular conditions. Power of attorney might be authorized for any number of reasons, but it is most commonly 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 really become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Cullman, 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 Cullman, Alabama
There are 3 main arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Cullman, Alabama. 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 - this gives the attorney in fact the power to make decisions on a general area of the principal's affairs (for instance, the authority to access the principal's assets to pay the principal's debts, or the power to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal). Unlike limited power of attorney, durable power of attorney does not expire unless the principal revokes it. This is useful, because it authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not normally take effect immediately. Instead, the power vests on the occurrence of particular condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, permitting power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are normally not so outlandish. Normally the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This permits 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 Cullman, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Cullman, Alabama, it's never imprudent to at least talk with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.