If you want to give somebody the legal permission to make certain decisions on your behalf in Madison, Wisconsin, 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 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 wishes concerning end-of-life care, you should, of course, make them clear to the person who will be operating on your behalf, and make sure they are ready to carry them out. You should then grant them power of attorney, with the scope limited to specific healthcare and financial decisions. That way, if you become incapacitated, your loved one will be able to carry out your wishes, even if you are unable to express them.
In Madison, Wisconsin, 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 Madison, Wisconsin
In Madison, Wisconsin, there are 3 types of power of attorney. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this lets the attorney-in-fact exercise limited authority in a single transaction. It is useful, for instance, 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 gives the attorney in fact the power to make decisions on a general area of the principal's affairs (for instance, the authority to access the principal's assets to pay the principal's debts, or the power to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal). Unlike limited power of attorney, durable power of attorney does not expire unless the principal revokes it. This is useful, because it permits the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
3. Springing power of attorney - springing power of attorney is much like durable power of attorney, with one key difference: the power only takes effect upon the happening of a specific event. The principal is free to set whatever conditions they like in this arrangement, no matter how outlandish. Of course, in most cases, the setup is much more practical. A typical arrangement grants a close friend or family member to make certain decisions for someone else, but only if that person becomes unable to make them himself.
Can a Madison, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Drafting a power of attorney agreement in Madison, Wisconsin 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 keep it from being implemented.