New York Power Of Attorney

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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.