In West Palm Beach, 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 specific situations, and under specific conditions. Power of attorney might be granted for any number of reasons, but it is most frequently 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 usually 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 truly become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In West Palm Beach, 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 West Palm Beach, Florida
In West Palm Beach, Florida, power of attorney can take three general forms. They are as follows:
1. Limited power of attorney - limited power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the power to act on your behalf on a single issue, in a single transaction. For example, if you are buying a house in another state, you may wish to grant limited power of attorney to a friend or relative who lives in that state, so they can sign all of the proper documents on your behalf, so you don't have to incur travel expenses. For obvious reasons, you should only grant this power to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, discussed above, this does not automatically expire, though the principal can terminate it at any time. It is typically not limited to a single transaction, either. Rather, it covers a broader subject matter, though it still has limits. For example, you could give someone durable power of attorney to make medical decisions for you, but they would only be permitted to act in that context.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not typically take effect immediately. Alternatively, the power vests on the occurrence of specific condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, authorizing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are typically not so outlandish. Typically the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This grants 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 West Palm Beach, Florida Lawyer Help?
Setting up a power of attorney arrangement in West Palm Beach, Florida can be easy, but it can also be very intricate. 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.