In Ocean County, 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.
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 Ocean County, 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 Ocean County, New Jersey
In Ocean County, New Jersey, power of attorney can take three general 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 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 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 important 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 determined by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Ocean County, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Ocean County, 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.