Power of attorney in Columbia, 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 number of reasons, both personal and business-related, but it is commonly done to authorize the attorney-in-fact to make essential 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 precise 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 precisely 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.
Occasionally, you can find pre-printed forms in Columbia, Pennsylvania 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 Columbia, Pennsylvania
In Columbia, Pennsylvania, power of attorney can take three main forms. They are as follows:
1. Limited power of attorney - this authorizes 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 finish 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, finishing the deal. The power you've granted them would expire automatically once the deal is done.
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 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 form of power of attorney which doesn't really take effect until the occurrence of some mentioned 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 Columbia, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Formulating a power of attorney agreement in Columbia, Pennsylvania is not always easy. And even if the arrangement you want to set up is relatively simple, it might still be a good idea to have a lawyer go over it, just to make sure that there are no flaws that might keep it from being implemented.