In Woodlake, 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.
If you have a strong preference with respect to end-of-life care, but worry that you might be unable to express your wishes when the time comes, you may want to give a family member the legal authority to make such choices for you, if necessary. Of course, the power you grant them should be clearly limited to medical decisions, if that's all you want them to be able to decide. It should further clearly state that this power will not really vest until and unless you actually become incapacitated. For reasons that should be obvious, you should only give this power to a person you trust.
Typically, you can find forms in Woodlake, 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 Woodlake, California
Power of attorney in Woodlake, California takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your particular situation. 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 - this is similar 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 decide the issue.
Can a Woodlake, California Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Woodlake, 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.