If you want to give somebody the legal right to make certain decisions on your behalf in Fairmont, 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 actually become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Fairmont, 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 Fairmont, West Virginia
Power of attorney in Fairmont, West Virginia takes 3 main forms. Which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual case. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - this is the most limited form of power of attorney. It lets the attorney-in-fact exercise his or her power once, and in only one instance (laid out by the principal, of course). This is regularly used in business deals, if it is not convenient for the actual party to a deal to be physically present for the signing of some documents, it can be done through an attorney-in-fact. You simply need to give them the right to sign the paperwork on your behalf, and it will be just as binding as if you had signed the documents yourself.
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 allows the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some specific event takes place. This event can be anything. Most often, however, the agreement allows 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 actually "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to determine the issue.
Can a Fairmont, West Virginia Lawyer Help?
Setting up a power of attorney arrangement in Fairmont, West Virginia can be easy, but it can also be very perplexing. It just varies on what you're trying to do. However, if you are at all unsure about how to proceed, it would probably be a good idea to have an attorney draft the agreement for you.