In St. Augustine, 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 certain situations, and under certain conditions. Power of attorney might be granted 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 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 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, 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 actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In St. Augustine, Florida, you can find pre-printed power-of-attorney forms in many office supply stores. If the agreement you want to create isn't very complex, these could be a viable and very affordable option. Of course, it never hurts to have a lawyer help.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in St. Augustine, Florida
There are 3 power-of-attorney schemes that can be set up in St. Augustine, Florida. Which one is best for you will largely depend on your goals, and your individual 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 commonly 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 authority 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 - 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 - 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 St. Augustine, Florida Lawyer Help?
Setting up a power of attorney arrangement in St. Augustine, Florida can be easy, but it can also be very complicated. It just depends on what you're trying to do. However, if you are at all unsure about how to proceed, it would probably be a good idea to have an attorney draft the agreement for you.