Power of attorney in Hamburg, 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 crucial 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 in a power-of-attorney arrangement is the one who decides the scope of the power that the attorney will be able to wield, and the circumstances under which they can wield it. Generally, you can grant the attorney-in-fact as much or as little decision-making power as you'd like. In every case, however, you should only enter a power-of-attorney arrangement with somebody you trust. The nature of the power you should grant depends heavily on the context, and what your wishes are.
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 functioning 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 particular 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 Hamburg, 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 Hamburg, Pennsylvania
There are 3 main arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. They are:
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 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 Hamburg, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Hamburg, 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.