If you want to give somebody the legal power to make certain decisions on your behalf in Vienna, 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 really become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Vienna, Virginia, 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 Vienna, Virginia
There are 3 power-of-attorney plans that can be set up in Vienna, Virginia. 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 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 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 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 authorizes 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 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 decide the issue.
Can a Vienna, Virginia Lawyer Help?
Formulating a power of attorney agreement in Vienna, Virginia is not always easy. And even if the arrangement you want to set up is relatively simple, it might still be a good idea to have a lawyer go over it, just to make sure that there are no flaws that might prevent it from being implemented.