In Northfield, 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.
Occasionally, you can find pre-printed forms in Northfield, New Jersey 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 Northfield, New Jersey
In Northfield, New Jersey, power of attorney can take three basic forms. They are as follows:
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 complete, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, allowing 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 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 allows 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 usually take effect immediately. Rather, the power vests on the occurrence of certain condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, allowing power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are usually not so outlandish. Usually the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This allows 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 Northfield, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Northfield, New Jersey, it's never imprudent to at least consult with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.