If you want to give somebody the legal right to make certain decisions on your behalf in Elkins, West 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 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 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 Elkins, West 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 Elkins, West Virginia
Power of attorney in Elkins, West Virginia takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your particular case. 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 appropriate 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 - 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 - this is a form of power of attorney which doesn't really take effect until the occurrence of some mentioned event. This event can be anything, but it is frequently the principal becoming disabled. You should be aware, though, that it is not always clear what "disabled" means in such an agreement, which can result in disagreements, resulting in litigation.
Can a Elkins, West Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because there are sometimes difficult issues involved in setting up power of attorney in Elkins, West Virginia, you should consult with a lawyer beforehand. You can tell the lawyer all of the relevant details about your individual situation, and your goals, and he or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action.