New York Power Of Attorney

Filed Under Estate Administration, Per Diem Legal Services · Tagged:  

The power of attorney is an important grant and document in the modern set of legal instruments.  It addresses the problem of allowing one person to act in the name of another.  The concept begins with the idea that each person is legally responsible to make their own decisions and in general no other person possesses that power.  This addresses the human tendency and perception that when one person becomes very familiar with another, they begin to presume the right of decision making for that other person.   The law says that this is never the case.  Thus, a wife that says she should be able to decide what happens with a vehicle that is in her husband’s name only, does not actually have that right.  In her mind, it may make sense that it be so; after all they are married.  The husband may even agree with her.  But the law does not.  That same wife may say that at least she is allowed to make decisions for her children, but if they are of adult age, that isn’t so either.  In general, there is no relationship that implicitly grants one person those rights of decision for another.

This is problematic for logistical reasons.  Perhaps the husband from the previous example has now had a car accident and is in a coma.  The doctors want to prolong his life, but his wife knows that her husband would want them to take him off the machines.  However, she cannot legally make that decision, and the husband has no way (short of other legal instruments such as a living will) of making his wishes known.  In fact, before the car accident, he wants to let his wife have that power.  (And he wants to let her have her way with his vehicles as well.)  This is where the power of attorney comes in.  This is a document which grants specific rights to another person that otherwise would be limited solely to the primary person.  It has been used in both of the previous examples: to allow a spouse to dispose of her husband’s property or to make decisions in the absence of the husband’s ability to speak for himself.

It is not hard to imagine that a power of attorney is a very powerful instrument.  Granting another person your legal rights is serious business.  If you execute a power of attorney, you will have no legal recourse if the person you granted power does something you didn’t want them to do.  For this reason, these documents should be executed by a power of attorney lawyer.  Any New York power of attorney should not be drawn up until the primary person understands all the ramifications of such a document.

Contact the Law Offices of Ronald J. Salvato to help you with any power of attorney needs you have.

Business Contracts

Filed Under Business Law, Per Diem Legal Services · Tagged:  

The term contract law is familiar to most people, but the common uses of contracts in everyday transactions are not as clearly understood.  Contract law was implemented in order to provide an orderly, controlled, and enforceable way for two parties to conduct a business transaction.  Originally, contracts were designed for products, but today they also include services and other “performances” (agreed up actions for compensation).  By the end of its lifetime, a contract is either fulfilled or breached.  When a contract is fulfilled, then both parties have satisfied the terms of their contract with respect to the other person.  During that lifetime, the contract serves as a template and a checklist for the performance of the one party and the compensation given by the other, in way that can always delineate to either of the participants or to a third party exactly what terms were agreed upon.  If a contract is breached, then it changes from a set of instructions to a set of liabilities against the failed party.  If the contract is properly executed, then the breach may be addressed in court and the expectations that have been breached can then become enforced by the court.  At that point, the contract is replaced by a court order, and a breach of the order will carry criminal liabilities.

Some common uses of contracts are car loans, house loans, and rental agreements.  It works in the favor of anyone to learn enough about basic contracts to find out what their legal commitments are when they enter into any of these agreements.  Some people blithely sign contracts, and then when they find themselves in court on an unfair breach suit, they try to appeal to the court that “the contract just isn’t fair”.  They then find to their dismay that the court is not there to determine right or wrong, fair or unfair, but to determine the legality and enforceability of the contract.  The fairness of the agreement is always left to person who signs his name and the responsibility and consequences of the agreement are solely in the hands of the person who accepts the contract.  This yields two important rules of thumb: understand the basics of contract law and the specifics of any contract presented and second, don’t sign anything until you do.  The signature is the binding point.  Before the signature, you are still free.  After the signature, you are stuck.

Once you learn a bit about contract law, you will recognize their use in all sorts of areas.  These include business contracts, service contracts, small businesses contracts, and business agreements.  Each of these is used to help specify and guarantee the performance between two parties.

Contact the Law Offices of Ronald J. Salvato to help you with any contractual needs you have.