In Santa Fe, New Mexico, "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 example, some people have particular wishes, whether based on religion or personal preference, about how they should be cared for at the end of their life. Oftentimes, people who are at the end of their lives become unable to express their wishes. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have somebody else who knows what they would want, and has the legal authority to give effect to those wishes.
Occasionally, you can find pre-printed forms in Santa Fe, New Mexico 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 Santa Fe, New Mexico
There are 3 power-of-attorney schemes that can be set up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Which one is best for you will largely depend on your goals, and your individual situation. 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 a form of power of attorney which doesn't actually take effect until the occurrence of some specified event. This event can be anything, but it is frequently the principal becoming disabled. You should be aware, though, that it is not always clear what "disabled" means in such an agreement, which can result in disagreements, resulting in litigation.
Can a Santa Fe, New Mexico Lawyer Help?
While setting up power of attorney in Santa Fe, New Mexico can be simple, there are some situations in which it will inevitably be convoluted. In such cases, the process will be much easier if you have a reputable attorney to help you along the way.