In Delaware, New Jersey, "power of attorney" refers to a number of different legal arrangements. However, the different 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 certain 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 frequently granted in contemplation of the possibility that the grantor might become unable to express his or her wishes due to some form of incapacity.
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 generally 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 acting 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 certain 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.
In Delaware, New Jersey, you can likely find pre-printed forms at office supply stores available for purchase. They already have the basic terms of a power-of-attorney agreement written, and just need the parties to fill in the blanks with names, dates, and a few other details.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Delaware, New Jersey
In Delaware, New Jersey, there are 3 types of power of attorney. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is probably the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets someone act on your behalf in a single instance. It is used most often in large sales transactions involving a written contract. If the closing of the deal is set to take place far away from where one of the parties is located, they can give limited power of attorney to someone who is closer. All you have to do is give that person the power to act on your behalf in this one transaction. This authority automatically expires once the deal is finished.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, discussed above, this does not automatically expire, though the principal can stop it at any time. It is usually not limited to a single transaction, either. Rather, it covers a broader subject matter, though it still has limits. For instance, you could give someone durable power of attorney to make medical decisions for you, but they would only be allowed to act in that context.
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 specific event takes place. This event can be anything. Most often, however, the agreement allows 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 actually "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 Delaware, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Setting up a power of attorney arrangement in Delaware, New Jersey can be easy, but it can also be very perplexing. It just varies on what you're trying to do. However, if you are at all unsure about how to proceed, it would probably be a good idea to have an attorney draft the agreement for you.