In Los Angeles 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.
In Los Angeles County, California, you can find pre-printed power-of-attorney forms in many office supply stores. If the agreement you want to create isn't very complex, these could be a viable and very affordable option. Of course, it never hurts to have a lawyer help.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Los Angeles County, California
In Los Angeles County, California, power of attorney can take three main forms. They are as follows:
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 lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a certain, defined area of the principal's affairs. Durable power of attorney doesn't automatically disappear, and can last indefinitely, or until the principal revokes it. This can be very useful, because it authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make essential decisions for the principal, but allows the principal to revoke the power if they regain the capacity to make their own decisions.
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 Los Angeles County, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Los Angeles County, 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.