Power of attorney in Berks County, Pennsylvania is a legal setup in which one person (the principal) grants another (the attorney-in-fact) the authority to make legally binding decisions on his or her behalf. This is done for a variety of reasons, both personal and business-related, but it is commonly done to authorize the attorney-in-fact to make necessary decisions for the principal in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or disabled, and thereby unable to make his or her own decisions.
The principal is able to dictate the exact scope of the attorney-in-fact's authority. If you are giving someone power of attorney, you're probably planning on giving it to a close friend, family member, or life partner. The exact scope of the power is up to you, and will depend on what your goals are.
If you have a strong preference with respect to end-of-life care, but worry that you might be unable to express your wishes when the time comes, you may want to give a family member the legal authority to make such choices for you, if necessary. Of course, the power you grant them should be clearly limited to medical decisions, if that's all you want them to be able to decide. It should further clearly state that this power will not really vest until and unless you actually become incapacitated. For reasons that should be obvious, you should only give this power to a person you trust.
In Berks County, Pennsylvania, you can probably find pre-printed forms at office supply stores available for purchase. They already have the basic terms of a power-of-attorney agreement written, and just require the parties to fill in the blanks with names, dates, and a few other details.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Berks County, Pennsylvania
In Berks County, Pennsylvania, power of attorney can take three main forms. They are as follows:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets the attorney-in-fact exercise his or her power once, and in only one instance (laid out by the principal, of course). This is commonly used in business deals, if it is not convenient for the actual party to a deal to be physically present for the signing of some documents, it can be done through an attorney-in-fact. You simply need to give them the authority to sign the paperwork on your behalf, and it will be just as binding as if you had signed the documents yourself.
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 example, the power 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 authorizes 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 normally take effect immediately. Instead, the power vests on the occurrence of particular condition(s) laid out by the principal. The principal could make the condition anything he or she wants, permitting power of attorney to vest only if, say, a person flies to Saturn. Of course, these arrangements are normally not so outlandish. Normally the event that must take place is the principal becoming incapacitated. This permits 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 Berks County, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Berks County, Pennsylvania, it's never imprudent to at least talk with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.