Power of attorney in Lancaster, 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 frequently done to permit 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 in a power-of-attorney arrangement is the one who determines 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 example, if you have very specific wishes concerning end-of-life care, you should, of course, make them clear to the person who will be operating on your behalf, and make sure they are prepared to carry them out. You should then grant them power of attorney, with the scope limited to specific 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.
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you can sometimes find pre-printed forms that let you easily draft a power-of-attorney agreement. However, if your situation is particularly complex, you should probably have a lawyer draft it for you, to ensure that the agreement is enforceable, or that there are no surprises.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
There are 3 general arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this permits 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 occurring 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 complete 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, finalizing 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 particular, specified 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 permits the attorney-in-fact to make crucial 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 similar to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some particular event takes place. This event can be anything. Most frequently, however, the agreement permits 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 truly "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to decide the issue.
Can a Lancaster, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it's never imprudent to at least speak with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.