In Westport, Connecticut, 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.
Any power-of-attorney arrangement creates the possibility that the attorney-in-fact will abuse the power he or she has been authorized, and it's simply not feasible to totally eliminate this possibility. It can be minimized, however, by giving the attorney the bare minimum amount of power needed to carry out your wishes, and making your wishes known in writing (with copies held by at least one other person) well in advance. When authorizing power of attorney, you can generally grant as much authority as you want, so you need to be very careful, and only give this legal authority to somebody you know and trust. Also, you should consider your circumstances and objectives when determining what type of power to grant.
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. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have somebody else who knows what they would want, and has the legal authority to give effect to those wishes.
Generally, you can find forms in Westport, Connecticut 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 Westport, Connecticut
There are 3 basic arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Westport, Connecticut. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this allows 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 finalize 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, completing 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 allows the attorney-in-fact to make critical 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 a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not usually take effect immediately. Rather, the power vests on the occurrence of certain condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, allowing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are usually not so outlandish. Usually the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This allows 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 Westport, Connecticut Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Westport, Connecticut, it's never imprudent to at least consult with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.