In Los Gatos, 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 Los Gatos, 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 Gatos, California
In Los Gatos, 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 occurring 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 - 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 - 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 Los Gatos, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Los Gatos, 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.