If you want to give somebody the legal right to make certain decisions on your behalf in Pacific, Washington, 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 power 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, particularly in the medical context (in case the grantor becomes incapacitated, for example).
The principal is able to dictate the precise 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.
One very common reason for granting power of attorney is that the grantor believes that they might become incapacitated, due to age or illness, in the fairly near future, and they want to make sure that their preferences relating to care at the end of their life are followed. Of course, if nobody knows what that person's preferences are, and the patient is unable to express them, family members and doctors will simply have to guess. Obviously, there's a good chance that they could get it wrong. Therefore, you should make your desires well-known to those who will be in a position to implement it, and grant, in writing, a person you trust (such as a spouse, life partner, sibling, or adult child) the authority to carry out your wishes, if necessary.
Occasionally, you can find pre-printed forms in Pacific, Washington permitting you to easily draft a power of attorney document. In some cases, this may be all you need. These forms already have the basics of such an agreement committed to writing. All you and the other party have to do is fill in the blanks, per the instructions, and possibly have the forms notarized.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Pacific, Washington
Power of attorney in Pacific, Washington takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual case. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is probably the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets someone act on your behalf in a single instance. It is used most often in large sales transactions involving a written contract. If the closing of the deal is set to take place far away from where one of the parties is located, they can give limited power of attorney to someone who is closer. All you have to do is give that person the power to act on your behalf in this one transaction. This authority automatically expires once the deal is finished.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, this does not automatically expire, and can last as long as the principal wishes. It can also be revoked by the principal. For instance, if you want someone to handle your financial affairs for a time, you can give them the relevant power in your power of attorney agreement, and it will last as long as you want it to. Of course, you should only give such authority to someone you trust.
3. Springing power of attorney - under this arrangement, the attorney-in-fact does not get power of attorney until the happening of some specified event. The specified event is usually 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 decided by a court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Can a Pacific, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always easy in Pacific, Washington, 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.