In Atherton, 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 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.
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 choices 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 further clearly state that this power will not really 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 Atherton, 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 Atherton, California
In Atherton, California, there are 3 types of power of attorney. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this authorizes the attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf on a single subject, in one instance. This is a good option if you are involved in a business transaction happening in another state or country. Suppose you want to buy a house on the other side of the country, and just need to sign a few papers to finish the deal. Rather than incurring the expense of traveling there, you could give limited power of attorney to a third party who lives in that state, and they can sign the paperwork for you, finishing the deal. The power you've granted them would expire automatically once the deal is done.
2. Durable power of attorney - this gives the attorney-in-fact much more power than limited power of attorney. It can, in theory, give them unlimited power in a certain area of the principal's affairs. The document should lay out clearly what power the attorney-in-fact will wield. This agreement, when used carefully, can be very useful, permitting the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal as long as is necessary, because it does not automatically disappear after a single transaction. Furthermore, the principal can revoke the power of attorney at any time.
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 certain event takes place. This event can be anything. Most commonly, however, the agreement authorizes 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 really "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 Atherton, California Lawyer Help?
Because there are sometimes difficult issues involved in setting up power of attorney in Atherton, California, you should consult with a lawyer beforehand. You can tell the lawyer all of the relevant details about your individual situation, and your goals, and he or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action.