If you want to give somebody the legal right to make certain decisions on your behalf in Huntington, 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 truly become incapacitated. Presumably, if you are able to make and express your own medical decisions, you'll want to do it yourself.
In Huntington, West Virginia, you can find pre-printed power-of-attorney forms in many office supply stores. If the agreement you want to create isn't very complex, these could be a viable and very affordable option. Of course, it never hurts to have a lawyer help.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Huntington, West Virginia
There are 3 power-of-attorney arrangements that can be set up in Huntington, West 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 permits 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 happening 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 complete 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, finalizing the deal. The power you've granted them would expire automatically once the deal is done.
2. Durable power of attorney - this gives the attorney-in-fact much more power than limited power of attorney. It can, in theory, give them unlimited power in a particular area of the principal's affairs. The document should lay out precisely what power the attorney-in-fact will wield. This agreement, when used carefully, can be very useful, authorizing the attorney-in-fact to make important decisions for the principal as long as is necessary, because it does not automatically disappear after a single transaction. Additionally, the principal can revoke the power of attorney at any time.
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 particular event takes place. This event can be anything. Most frequently, however, the agreement permits 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 truly "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 Huntington, West Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because setting up a power of attorney agreement is not always straightforward in Huntington, West Virginia, it's never imprudent to at least speak with a lawyer beforehand. As with any legal agreement, there are things that can go wrong, which laypersons may not foresee.