In Mahwah, 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 typically 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 granted, and it's simply not feasible to completely eliminate this possibility. It can be minimized, however, by giving the attorney the bare minimum amount of authority 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 granting 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 example, if you have very specific 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 prepared 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.
Sometimes, you can find pre-printed forms in Mahwah, New Jersey allowing 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 Mahwah, New Jersey
Power of attorney in Mahwah, New Jersey takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your distinct situation. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - limited power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the power to act on your behalf on a single issue, in a single transaction. For example, if you are buying a house in another state, you may wish to grant limited power of attorney to a friend or relative who lives in that state, so they can sign all of the proper documents on your behalf, so you don't have to incur travel expenses. For obvious reasons, you should only grant this power to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
2. Durable power of attorney - this lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a particular, specified 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 crucial 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 - this is similar 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 decide the issue.
Can a Mahwah, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Mahwah, 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.