In Melbourne, Florida, 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 instance, if you have very particular 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 actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
Generally, you can find forms in Melbourne, Florida 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 Melbourne, Florida
There are 3 basic arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Melbourne, Florida. 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 usually 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 permission 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 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 Melbourne, Florida Lawyer Help?
Creating a power of attorney agreement in Melbourne, Florida is not always easy. And even if the arrangement you want to set up is relatively simple, it might still be a good idea to have a lawyer go over it, just to make sure that there are no flaws that might keep it from being implemented.