In Napa, 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.
One very frequent reason for granting power of attorney is that the grantor believes that they might become incapacitated, due to age or illness, in the relatively 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. Thus, 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 power to carry out your wishes, if necessary.
Typically, you can find forms in Napa, California that let you easily draft a power of attorney document. However, if a massive amount of money is at stake, or you wish to grant very specific and limited powers, you should probably consult with a lawyer beforehand.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Napa, California
In Napa, California, there are 3 forms of power of attorney. They are:
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 - this is a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not normally take effect immediately. Instead, the power vests on the occurrence of particular condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, permitting power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are normally not so outlandish. Normally the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This permits the principal to make his or her own decisions while they're able, but also ensures that someone they trust will be able to carry out their wishes in the event that they become too sick or weak to express them.
Can a Napa, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Napa, 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.