In Lakeland, Florida, 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.
Any power-of-attorney arrangement creates the possibility that the attorney-in-fact will abuse the power he or she has been granted, and it's simply not feasible to completely eliminate this possibility. It can be minimized, however, by giving the attorney the bare minimum amount of authority 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 granting power of attorney, you can typically 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, if you have very specific desires for your end-of-life care, but are worried that you won't be able to express your wishes when the time comes, you can grant someone power of attorney in advance, so they'll be able to ensure that your wishes are carried out, if necessary. You should draft an agreement giving the attorney-in-fact power of attorney only in the event that you really become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
Typically, you can find forms in Lakeland, Florida 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 Lakeland, Florida
Power of attorney in Lakeland, Florida takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your particular situation. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this lets the attorney-in-fact exercise limited authority in a single transaction. It is useful, for example, if someone is buying property in another state, and the deal is nearly fulfilled, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, permitting him or her to complete the transaction on the buyer's behalf. Conveniently, the power automatically terminates when the transaction is complete.
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 a form of power of attorney which doesn't really take effect until the occurrence of some mentioned event. This event can be anything, but it is often the principal becoming disabled. You should be aware, though, that it is not always clear what "disabled" means in such an agreement, which can result in disagreements, resulting in litigation.
Can a Lakeland, Florida Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Lakeland, Florida, 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.