In Menlo Park, 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 certain situations, and under certain conditions. Power of attorney might be authorized 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.
One very common reason for granting power of attorney is that the grantor believes that they might become incapacitated, due to age or illness, in the fairly near future, and they want to make sure that their preferences relating to care at the end of their life are followed. Of course, if nobody knows what that person's preferences are, and the patient is unable to express them, family members and doctors will simply have to guess. Obviously, there's a good chance that they could get it wrong. Therefore, you should make your desires well-known to those who will be in a position to implement it, and grant, in writing, a person you trust (such as a spouse, life partner, sibling, or adult child) the authority to carry out your wishes, if necessary.
Generally, you can find forms in Menlo Park, California that let you quickly draft a power of attorney document. However, if a large amount of money is at stake, or you wish to grant very particular and limited powers, you should probably consult with a lawyer beforehand.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Menlo Park, California
Power of attorney in Menlo Park, California takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual case. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is probably the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets someone act on your behalf in a single instance. It is used most often in large sales transactions involving a written contract. If the closing of the deal is set to take place far away from where one of the parties is located, they can give limited power of attorney to someone who is closer. All you have to do is give that person the power to act on your behalf in this one transaction. This authority automatically expires once the deal is finished.
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 instance, the authority 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 allows the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
3. Springing power of attorney - springing power of attorney is much like durable power of attorney, with one key difference: the power only takes effect upon the happening of a certain event. The principal is free to set whatever conditions they like in this arrangement, no matter how outlandish. Of course, in most cases, the setup is much more practical. A common arrangement allows a close friend or family member to make certain decisions for someone else, but only if that person becomes unable to make them himself.
Can a Menlo Park, California Lawyer Help?
While setting up power of attorney in Menlo Park, California can be simple, there are some situations in which it will inevitably be convoluted. In such cases, the process will be much easier if you have a reputable attorney to help you along the way.