In Contra Costa County, 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.
If you are giving someone power of attorney, it's up to you to decide clearly what kind of decisions they will be able to make, and when they'll be able to make them. In any case, however, it's very important that you completely trust the person to whom you're granting this authority, since any power of attorney, even if it's very limited in scope, can be abused. Obviously, whatever type and amount of power you wish to give will depend on your intentions, as well as many external factors.
For example, some people have particular wishes, whether based on religion or personal preference, about how they should be cared for at the end of their life. Oftentimes, people who are at the end of their lives become unable to express their wishes. Thus, it becomes necessary to have somebody else who knows what they would want, and has the legal authority to give effect to those wishes.
Typically, you can find forms in Contra Costa County, California that let you quickly draft a power of attorney document. However, if a massive amount of money is at stake, or you wish to grant very particular and limited powers, you should probably consult with a lawyer beforehand.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Contra Costa County, California
There are 3 main arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Contra Costa County, California. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is probably the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets someone act on your behalf in a single instance. It is used most commonly in large sales transactions involving a written contract. If the closing of the deal is set to take place far away from where one of the parties is located, they can give limited power of attorney to someone who is closer. All you have to do is give that person the power to act on your behalf in this one transaction. This authority automatically expires once the deal is finished.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, discussed above, this does not automatically expire, though the principal can dissolve it at any time. It is normally 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 authorized to act in that context.
3. Springing power of attorney - under this arrangement, the attorney-in-fact does not get power of attorney until the happening of some mentioned event. The specified event is normally the incapacity or disability of the principal, though it can be virtually any event you wish. You should be aware, however, that it is not always clear when the principal has become sufficiently "disabled" for the power of attorney to take effect. This question sometimes has to be decided by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Contra Costa County, California Lawyer Help?
Formulating a power of attorney agreement in Contra Costa County, California is not always easy. And even if the arrangement you want to set up is relatively simple, it might still be a good idea to have a lawyer go over it, just to make sure that there are no flaws that might keep it from being implemented.