Power of attorney in Melrose, Massachusetts grants one person to make specific decisions for another, under specific conditions. There are different reasons why one might grant power of attorney. However, most of them revolve around the possible incapacitation of the person authorizing the power - so that their wishes can be carried out even if they become unable to express them.
Any power-of-attorney arrangement creates the possibility that the attorney-in-fact will abuse the power he or she has been authorized, and it's simply not feasible to totally eliminate this possibility. It can be minimized, however, by giving the attorney the bare minimum amount of power 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 authorizing 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 instance, if you have very particular wishes concerning end-of-life care, you should, of course, make them clear to the person who will be operating on your behalf, and make sure they are ready to carry them out. You should then grant them power of attorney, with the scope limited to specific healthcare and financial decisions. That way, if you become incapacitated, your loved one will be able to carry out your wishes, even if you are unable to express them.
Occasionally, you can find pre-printed forms in Melrose, Massachusetts permitting you to easily draft a power of attorney document. In some cases, this may be all you need. These forms already have the basics of such an agreement committed to writing. All you and the other party have to do is fill in the blanks, per the instructions, and possibly have the forms notarized.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Melrose, Massachusetts
In Melrose, Massachusetts, power of attorney can take three general forms. They are as follows:
1. Limited power of attorney - this permits 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 complete 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, finalizing 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 the power to make decisions on a general area of the principal's affairs (for instance, the authority to access the principal's assets to pay the principal's debts, or the power to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal). Unlike limited power of attorney, durable power of attorney does not expire unless the principal revokes it. This is useful, because it permits the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
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 particular event takes place. This event can be anything. Most frequently, however, the agreement permits 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 truly "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 Melrose, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Melrose, Massachusetts, it's never imprudent to at least speak with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.