Power of attorney
Power of attorneyhospital visitation, etc
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_of_attorney]Power of attorney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
Types of powers of attorney
A power of attorney may be special or limited to one specified act or type of act, or it may be general, and whatever it defines as its scope is what a court will enforce as being its scope. (It may also be limited as to time.) Under the common law, a power of attorney becomes ineffective if its grantor dies or becomes "incapacitated," meaning unable to grant such a power, because of physical injury or mental illness, for example, unless the grantor (or principal) specifies that the power of attorney will continue to be effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated (but any such power ends when the grantor dies). This type of power of attorney is called a durable power of attorney.
In some jurisdictions, a durable power of attorney can also be a "Health Care Power of Attorney", an advance directive which empowers the attorney-in-fact (proxy) to make health-care decisions for the grantor, up to and including terminating care and "pulling the plug" on machines keeping a critically and terminally ill patient alive. Health care decisions include the power to consent, refuse consent or withdraw consent to any type of medical care, treatment, service or procedure. A living will is a written statement of a person's health care and medical wishes but does not appoint another person to make health care decisions.  New York State has enacted a Health Care Proxy law that requires a separate document be prepared appointing one as your health care agent.
People with mental illness may prepare Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs in some U.S. states) or Ulysses contracts as they are called in Canada. Ulysses contracts are powers of attorney that enable a patient to dictate preferences for care before becoming incapacitated by recurring mental illness. Although they are not used very often, there is speculation in some of the academic literature as to whether or not these advance directives are empowering for people with mental illness (Journal of Ethics in Mental Health 2006-1).
In some U.S. states and other jurisdictions it is possible to grant a springing power of attorney; i.e., a power that only takes effect after the incapacity of the grantor or some other definite future act or circumstance. After such incapacitation the power is identical to a durable power, but cannot be invoked before the incapacity. This may be used to allow a spouse or family member to manage the grantor's affairs in case illness or injury makes the grantor unable to act, without the power of an attorney-in-fact before the incapacity occurs. If a springing power is used, care should be given to specify exactly how and when the power springs into effect. As the result of privacy legislation in the U.S., medical doctors will often not reveal information relating to capacity of the principal unless the power of attorney specifically authorizes them to do so.
Determining whether or not the principal is "disabled" enough for the power of attorney to "spring" into action is a formal process. Springing powers of attorney are not automatic, and institutions may refuse to work with the attorney-in-fact. Disputes are then resolved in court, which is of course a costly, and usually unwanted, procedure.
Unless the power of attorney has been made irrevocable (by its own terms or by some legal principle), the grantor may revoke the power of attorney by telling the attorney-in-fact it is revoked; however, if the principal does not inform third parties and it is reasonable for the third parties to rely upon the power of attorney being in force, the principal may still be bound by the acts of the agent, though the agent may also be liable for such unauthorized acts.
Many standardized forms are available for various kinds of powers of attorney, and many organizations provide them for their clients, customers, patients, employees, or members. In some states statutory power of attorney forms are available. Some individuals have used powers of attorney to unscrupulously waste or steal the assets of vulnerable individuals such as the elderly (see elder abuse).
Robert's Rules of Order notes that proxy voting involves granting a power of attorney. The term "proxy" refers to both the power of attorney itself and the person to whom it is granted.
 Power of attorney in finance
In financial situations wherein a principal requests a securities broker to perform extensive investment functions on the principal's behalf, independent of the principal's advice, power of attorney must be formally granted to the broker to trade in the principal's account. This rule also applies to principals who instruct their brokers to perform certain specific trades and principals who trust their brokers to perform certain trades in the principal's best interest.