In West Des Moines, 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 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.
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. Furthermore, 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 actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In West Des Moines, 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 West Des Moines, Iowa
There are 3 power-of-attorney schemes that can be set up in West Des Moines, 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 lets the attorney-in-fact exercise limited authority in a single transaction. It is useful, for example, if someone is buying property in another state, and the deal is nearly complete, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, allowing him or her to complete the transaction on the buyer's behalf. Conveniently, the power automatically terminates when the transaction is complete.
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 arrangement, 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 a form of power of attorney which doesn't actually take effect until the occurrence of some specified event. This event can be anything, but it is often the principal becoming disabled. You should be aware, though, that it is not always clear what "disabled" means in such an agreement, which can result in disagreements, resulting in litigation.
Can a West Des Moines, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in West Des Moines, 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.