Power of attorney in Pittsburgh, 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 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 desires for your end-of-life care, but are worried that you won't be able to express your wishes when the time comes, you can grant someone power of attorney in advance, so they'll be able to ensure that your wishes are carried out, if necessary. You should draft an agreement giving the attorney-in-fact power of attorney only in the event that you really become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Pittsburgh, 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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
There are 3 power-of-attorney plans that can be set up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Which one is best for you will largely depend on your goals, and your individual situation. 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 much more power than limited power of attorney. It can, in theory, give them unlimited power in a certain area of the principal's affairs. The document should lay out clearly what power the attorney-in-fact will wield. This agreement, when used carefully, can be very useful, permitting the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal as long as is necessary, because it does not automatically disappear after a single transaction. Furthermore, the principal can revoke the power of attorney at any time.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some certain event takes place. This event can be anything. Most commonly, however, the agreement authorizes 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 really "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to determine the issue.
Can a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always simple in Pittsburgh, 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.