In Fairfield, 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 particular situations, and under particular conditions. Power of attorney might be granted 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 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. 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.
In Fairfield, 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 Fairfield, California
In Fairfield, California, there are 3 forms of power of attorney. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this lets the attorney-in-fact exercise limited authority in a single transaction. It is useful, for example, if someone is buying property in another state, and the deal is nearly fulfilled, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, permitting him or her to complete the transaction on the buyer's behalf. Conveniently, the power automatically terminates when the transaction is complete.
2. Durable power of attorney - this gives the attorney in fact the power to make decisions on a general area of the principal's affairs (for example, the power to access the principal's assets to pay the principal's debts, or the power to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal). Unlike limited power of attorney, durable power of attorney does not expire unless the principal revokes it. This is useful, because it authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a form of power of attorney which doesn't really take effect until the occurrence of some mentioned event. This event can be anything, but it is often 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 Fairfield, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Fairfield, California, it's never imprudent to at least talk with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.