In Tempe, Arizona, power of attorney is an arrangement in which one person (the principal) gives another (the attorney-in-fact) the ability to act on the principal's behalf in certain situations, and under certain conditions. Power of attorney might be granted 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 determines 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.
If you have a strong preference with respect to end-of-life care, but worry that you might be unable to express your wishes when the time comes, you may want to give a family member the legal authority to make such decisions for you, if necessary. Of course, the power you grant them should be clearly limited to medical decisions, if that's all you want them to be able to decide. It should also clearly state that this power will not actually vest until and unless you actually become incapacitated. For reasons that should be obvious, you should only give this power to a person you trust.
In Tempe, Arizona, 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 Tempe, Arizona
Power of attorney in Tempe, Arizona takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual situation. 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 example, if you are buying 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 power to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
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 example, if you want someone to handle your financial affairs for a time, you can give them the relevant authority in your power of attorney agreement, and it will last as long as you want it to. Of course, you should only give such power to someone you trust.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a form of power of attorney which doesn't actually take effect until the occurrence of some specified event. This event can be anything, but it is typically the principal becoming disabled. You should be aware, though, that it is not always clear what "disabled" means in such an agreement, which can result in disagreements, resulting in litigation.
Can a Tempe, Arizona Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Tempe, Arizona, 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.