In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, "power of attorney" refers to a number of different legal arrangements. However, the numerous systems which fall under the umbrella of that term have one thing in common: if somebody grants power of attorney to somebody else, the person with power of attorney is authorized to make given decisions on behalf of the person who granted it. There are many reasons why a person might want to grant this power to another, but it usually granted in contemplation of the possibility that the grantor might become unable to express his or her wishes due to some form of incapacity.
The principal is able to dictate the particular scope of the attorney-in-fact's authority. If you are giving someone power of attorney, you're probably planning on giving it to a close friend, family member, or life partner. The exact scope of the power is up to you, and will depend on what your goals are.
If you have a strong preference with respect to end-of-life care, but worry that you might be unable to express your wishes when the time comes, you may want to give a family member the legal authority to make such arrangements for you, if necessary. Of course, the power you grant them should be precisely limited to medical decisions, if that's all you want them to be able to decide. It should additionally clearly state that this power will not directly vest until and unless you actually become incapacitated. For reasons that should be obvious, you should only give this power to a person you trust.
In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 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 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
There are 3 power-of-attorney arrangements that can be set up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 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 instance, if someone is buying property in another state, and the deal is nearly done, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, authorizing 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 lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a certain, defined area of the principal's affairs. Durable power of attorney doesn't automatically disappear, and can last indefinitely, or until the principal revokes it. This can be very useful, because it permits the attorney-in-fact to make critical decisions for the principal, but allows the principal to revoke the power if they regain the capacity to make their own decisions.
3. Springing power of attorney - under this arrangement, the attorney-in-fact does not get power of attorney until the happening of some stated event. The specified event is typically the incapacity or disability of the principal, though it can be virtually any event you wish. You should be aware, however, that it is not always clear when the principal has become sufficiently "disabled" for the power of attorney to take effect. This question sometimes has to be decided by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Chapel Hill, North Carolina Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 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.