In Half Moon Bay, 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 Half Moon Bay, 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 Half Moon Bay, California
There are 3 main arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Half Moon Bay, California. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets the attorney-in-fact exercise his or her power once, and in only one instance (laid out by the principal, of course). This is typically used in business deals, if it is not convenient for the actual party to a deal to be physically present for the signing of some documents, it can be done through an attorney-in-fact. You simply need to give them the power to sign the paperwork on your behalf, and it will be just as binding as if you had signed the documents yourself.
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 arrangement, 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 - 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 determined by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Half Moon Bay, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Half Moon Bay, 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.