Power of attorney in Santa Clara, Utah 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 often done to allow 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 can state in advance the scope and nature of the attorney-in-fact's authority. The agreement should be very clear on this matter, so you give the attorney-in-fact enough power to carry out your instructions, but not more than they need in order to accomplish your objectives. Furthermore, the attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust, such as a family member or life partner. You also need to be cognizant of the fact that your distinct situation, as well as the actions you want the attorney to be able to take on your behalf, will help decide the most effective arrangement.
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 actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Santa Clara, Utah, 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 Santa Clara, Utah
There are 3 basic arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Santa Clara, Utah. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - limited power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the power to act on your behalf on a single issue, in a single transaction. For instance, if you are purchasing a house in another state, you may wish to grant limited power of attorney to a friend or relative who lives in that state, so they can sign all of the relevant documents on your behalf, so you don't have to incur travel expenses. For obvious reasons, you should only grant this authority to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
2. Durable power of attorney - this lets an attorney-in-fact make decisions in a certain, defined 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 allows the attorney-in-fact to make essential 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 close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some specific event takes place. This event can be anything. Most often, however, the agreement allows 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 actually "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 Santa Clara, Utah Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Santa Clara, Utah, it's never imprudent to at least consult with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.