In Washington, Iowa, 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.
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 authority to carry out your instructions, but not more than they need in order to accomplish your objectives. Moreover, the attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust, such as a family member or life partner. You also need to be aware of the fact that your unique situation, as well as the actions you want the attorney to be able to take on your behalf, will help determine the most effective arrangement.
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 Washington, Iowa, you can sometimes find pre-printed forms that let you easily draft a power-of-attorney agreement. However, if your situation is particularly complex, you should probably have a lawyer draft it for you, to ensure that the agreement is enforceable, or that there are no surprises.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Washington, Iowa
There are 3 power-of-attorney arrangements that can be set up in Washington, Iowa. 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 specific 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 typical arrangement grants 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 Washington, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because there are sometimes intricate issues involved in setting up power of attorney in Washington, Iowa, you should consult with a lawyer beforehand. You can tell the lawyer all of the relevant details about your specific situation, and your goals, and he or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action.