If you want to give somebody the legal power to make certain decisions on your behalf in Smithfield, Virginia, you are giving them "power of attorney." There are many different types of power of attorney, to be discussed in more detail below, but they all boil down to one common element: the authority of one person to make decisions for another. I'm sure you can think of many reasons why somebody might want to give this power to another person, especially in the medical context (in case the grantor becomes incapacitated, for example).
The principal is able to dictate the specific 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.
For example, if you have very specific 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 truly become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Smithfield, Virginia, you can probably find pre-printed forms at office supply stores available for purchase. They already have the basic terms of a power-of-attorney agreement written, and just require the parties to fill in the blanks with names, dates, and a few other details.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Smithfield, Virginia
In Smithfield, Virginia, power of attorney can take three general forms. They are as follows:
1. Limited power of attorney - this lets the attorney-in-fact exercise limited authority in a single transaction. It is useful, for example, if someone is buying property in another state, and the deal is nearly done, but a few documents need to be signed. The buyer could give a resident of that state power of attorney, authorizing him or her to complete the transaction on the buyer's behalf. Conveniently, the power automatically terminates when the transaction is complete.
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 - under this arrangement, the attorney-in-fact does not get power of attorney until the happening of some stated event. The specified event is typically the incapacity or disability of the principal, though it can be virtually any event you wish. You should be aware, however, that it is not always clear when the principal has become sufficiently "disabled" for the power of attorney to take effect. This question sometimes has to be determined by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Smithfield, Virginia Lawyer Help?
While setting up power of attorney in Smithfield, Virginia can be simple, there are some cases in which it will inevitably be complicated. In such cases, the process will be much easier if you have a knowledgeable attorney to help you along the way.