In Alameda, California, 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.
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 arrangements for you, if necessary. Of course, the power you grant them should be precisely limited to medical decisions, if that's all you want them to be able to decide. It should additionally clearly state that this power will not directly 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 Alameda, California, 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 Alameda, California
In Alameda, California, there are 3 types of power of attorney. 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 proper 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 - unlike limited power of attorney, discussed above, this does not automatically expire, though the principal can stop it at any time. It is typically not limited to a single transaction, either. Rather, it covers a broader subject matter, though it still has limits. For instance, you could give someone durable power of attorney to make medical decisions for you, but they would only be permitted to act in that context.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a form of power of attorney which doesn't truly take effect until the occurrence of some stated event. This event can be anything, but it is frequently 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 Alameda, California Lawyer Help?
Because there are sometimes confusing issues involved in setting up power of attorney in Alameda, California, you should consult with a lawyer beforehand. You can tell the lawyer all of the relevant details about your specific situation, and your goals, and he or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action.