In El Segundo, California, 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.
If you are giving someone power of attorney, it's up to you to decide exactly 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 instance, some people have specific 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. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have somebody else who knows what they would want, and has the legal authority to give effect to those wishes.
In El Segundo, 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 El Segundo, California
In El Segundo, California, there are 3 forms 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 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 lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not usually take effect immediately. Rather, the power vests on the occurrence of certain condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, allowing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are usually not so outlandish. Usually the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This allows 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 El Segundo, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in El Segundo, California, 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.