In Cape May, New Jersey, "power of attorney" refers to a variety 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 often 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 in a power-of-attorney arrangement is the one who determines the scope of the power that the attorney will be able to wield, and the circumstances under which they can wield it. Generally, you can grant the attorney-in-fact as much or as little decision-making power as you'd like. In every case, however, you should only enter a power-of-attorney arrangement with somebody you trust. The nature of the power you should grant depends heavily on the context, and what your wishes 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 clearly 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 Cape May, New Jersey, 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 Cape May, New Jersey
In Cape May, New Jersey, there are 3 forms of power of attorney. 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 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 gives the attorney in fact the power to make decisions on a general area of the principal's affairs (for example, the power 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 a lot like durable power of attorney, but it does not typically take effect immediately. Alternatively, the power vests on the occurrence of specific condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, authorizing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are typically not so outlandish. Typically the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This grants the principal to make his or her own decisions while they're able, but also ensures that someone they trust will be able to carry out their wishes in the event that they become too sick or weak to express them.
Can a Cape May, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Cape May, New Jersey, 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.