In Pitman, 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 usually 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 Pitman, 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 Pitman, New Jersey

There are 3 basic arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Pitman, New Jersey. They are:

1. Limited power of attorney - this allows the attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf on a single subject, in one instance. This is a good option if you are involved in a business transaction happening in another state or country. Suppose you want to buy a house on the other side of the country, and just need to sign a few papers to finalize the deal. Rather than incurring the expense of traveling there, you could give limited power of attorney to a third party who lives in that state, and they can sign the paperwork for you, completing the deal. The power you've granted them would expire automatically once the deal is done.

2. Durable power of attorney - this lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a certain, defined 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 allows the attorney-in-fact to make critical 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 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 Pitman, New Jersey Lawyer Help?

Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Pitman, 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.