In Muscatine, Iowa, 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.
The principal can state in advance the scope and nature of the attorney-in-fact's authority. The agreement should be very clear on this matter, so you give the attorney-in-fact enough power to carry out your instructions, but not more than they need in order to accomplish your objectives. Furthermore, the attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust, such as a family member or life partner. You also need to be cognizant of the fact that your distinct situation, as well as the actions you want the attorney to be able to take on your behalf, will help decide the most effective arrangement.
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 Muscatine, Iowa 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 Muscatine, Iowa
There are 3 basic arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Muscatine, Iowa. 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 gives the attorney-in-fact much more power than limited power of attorney. It can, in theory, give them unlimited power in a specific area of the principal's affairs. The document should lay out exactly what power the attorney-in-fact will wield. This agreement, when used carefully, can be very useful, allowing 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. Also, the principal can revoke the power of attorney at any time.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some specific event takes place. This event can be anything. Most often, however, the agreement allows the attorney-in-fact to make important medical and financial decisions for the principal, only in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated. However, there are sometimes disagreements over whether or not a person is actually "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to determine the issue.
Can a Muscatine, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Muscatine, Iowa, 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.