Power of Attorney Legal Information

A power of attorney is a type of legal document in which you declare that you are assigning another person (a close relative or a trusted friend) the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf while you are temporarily unable. The person to whom you give these rights to is called an “agent”. You, as the designator, are called the “principal.” The agent is a “fiduciary”, which means that he or she must perform any decisions with your best interests in mind and completely in good faith. Good faith simply means that something is being done without the intent to deceive.

If a person were going to be hospitalized for a common surgery, or was going to be physically unable to perform certain financial or legal obligations, an agent can be selected for a Limited Power of Attorney. This person could perform such tasks as banking affairs, paying bills or other tasks as assigned by you. As long as you, as the principal, are capable of making decisions with a sound mind, the agent must follow your directions. Once you are able to perform the required tasks on your own, the power and privileges are revoked. In other instances, there should be a time limit set for these powers, with an indefinite time frame or permanency clause avoided. This document is also null and void if you become permanently incapacitated or were to die.

The second type of authority is a General Power of Attorney. This document gives the agent the ability to perform any tasks that you yourself can do including, but not limited to decisions and follow through of banking transactions, opening safety deposit boxes, completing transactions involving securities, stocks and/or bonds, the buying and selling of personal property, purchasing life insurance, settling claims, entering into legally binding contracts, controlling real estate (which would include, selling, buying and/or managing), filing tax returns and decisions related to government benefits. The person acting as your agent should be a trusted individual. Again, the agent is someone who would act with only your best interests in mind.

A Health Care Power of Attorney designates an agent to make health care decisions for you if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make such decisions. It is important to understand that there is a difference between this document and a Living Will. A Living Will only provides directive in the event that life sustaining decisions are in question. Your agent would be entitled to make decisions including but not limited to surgeries, doctors, hospitals, after care and the amount of life saving efforts performed on your behalf. Again, the agent should be someone you have absolute trust in. With these documents and the power bestowed on the agent, it is imperative that an understanding be in place regarding your wishes before the document is signed. In most states, this person cannot be a health care provider or a hospital/care facility employee, even if they are related.

Legal Information About the Real Estate Contract

The conclusion of final agreement between a seller and a buyer is the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. We know it as the real estate contract.

There are five mandatory requirements for a contract under contract law:

1. The name, address and contact data for the seller(s) and buyer(s).

2. A clear description of the property. We prefer the tax map and parcel number but a street address, or other clear description will do. Such as “parcel known as Hudson Farm, being 456 acres more or less fronting on west side of US Route One and County Rd. 264, being about 9 miles north of Rehoboth in Sussex County Delaware. The final description on the deed at settlement will contain the Book and Page number where it was purchased, a survey description and tax map ID. For the contract any clear description that could ONLY be the property being sold is sufficient. This can be the Tax I.D. number.

3. The price and terms of payment. For instance: cash at settlement in thirty days from the date of this contract. Here should also be noted the deposit or consideration which may be as little as one dollar BUT is normally 10% of the purchase price.

4. The date of the contract.

5. Signatures of all sellers and buyers.

Although the contract need not be written on the form provided by the Realtor, it is customary to do so. On larger properties a simple note is often written which include the above 5 items and says that a full contract will follow. Then, the short contract is followed by another formalized contract drawn up by the attorney for the buyer or the seller. That is then reviewed and usually changed to some degree by the attorneys for the other side of the transaction.

On larger and more complicated properties the contract can go to dozens or even hundreds of pages. The five items here must be included but hundreds or thousands of other items may need to be included for some properties.

Most contracts today, for residential homes, are written on the standard contract form authorized by the County Board of Realtors and provided by the purchaser’s Realtor. The deposit money, or earnest money as it is sometimes called, is usually deposited in the escrow account of the selling Realtor.

Until all of the items above are included and ratified by all parties there is not a contract but only a “contract in progress” or an “offer” as we call it. This can be an offer to sell or an offer to buy and there may be several counter offers going back and forth as negotiations continue.

When everything is finalized the fully written and agreed upon document is said to be ratified. Even then the contract is not fully enforceable until it is conveyed, and received, in writing to all parties. THEN and only then can it be said to be a full and complete and enforcable contract.

Copyright © 2001-2005 www.JodyHudson.com

A Rabies Dog Bite – Assessment and Legal Information

Thanks to movie dramatization we all have a general knowledge of what rabid dogs look like. The glassy eyes, the foaming mouth, the uncontrollable aggression…

Despite the widespread knowledge of the existence of rabies, most people don’t know the full details and are often left wondering how to handle rabies (and if it is even present at all).

This article looks to explore how rabies dog bites occur, what treatment can be done, and what legal liabilities are at stake.

Please understand this article is not a substitute for medical treatment and assumes no responsibility for the proper care and diagnosis of the illness.

Where Do Dogs Get Rabies?

Most cases of rabies in dogs come from bites from wild animals. The most common animals to carry rabies are skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes.

What Are the Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs?

Rabies generally go through three stages in dogs. The first is called the predomal stage and generally lasts 2-3 days. Symptoms during this phase often include fever, chewing at bite site, and behavioral changes.

The next phase is called the furious stage and lasts 2-4 days. The furious stage is the one most people are familiar with, and is associated with aggressive behavior, barking, disorientation, and attacks.

The final phase is called the paralytics stage and can last 2-4 days. In this stage the animal suffers from the oft-mentioned mouth foaming, paralysis of limbs, and dropped jaw. This is followed by coma and death.

How Likely Is It That A Dog Has Rabies?

Sometimes people get confused that an aggressive dog automatically has rabies. This is not the case. As you’ll notice in the cycle mentioned above, rabies penetrates a dog quickly and mainly occurs when the dog has been bitten by a rabid wild animal. These circumstances are less prevalent than people are led to believe.

Nevertheless, if you’ve been bitten by a dog, it is always wise to take as many precautions as possible.

Assessing the Bite for Rabies

The most important step for assessing a bite is getting in contact with the dogs owners. From there you can discuss when their last rabies shot occurred (if at all), and if the animal recently had any fights with wild animals or has been experiencing changes in behavior.

If the dog is a stray you will want to contact animal control asap and have them locate the dog.

Legal Rights of a Bite Victim

When bitten by a dog that may be rabid, medical treatment is your primary concern. However, once the animal has been properly diagnosed by a professional and your health is on track for recovery, you need to concern yourself with legal rights.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, rabid or not, you may have the right to pursue for damages. The most important piece advice in this process is to get in contact with a skilled dog bite injury lawyer right away. Early in the process he/she will help you obtain the information you need from the offending party and avoid many of the common traps that insurance companies and dog owners will try to catch you in.

California’s Central Valley Is a Petri Dish for Clean Energy

A Fresno patent attorney wanted to know the most pressing legal needs of clean energy companies in the San Joaquin Valley.

Her emailed question made me think. The industry remains in its infancy but likely won’t dawdle in Huggies for long, especially if petroleum prices continue upward as analysts suggest. Oil-price.net still lists $99 barrel on its one-year forecast, and pump prices continue to climb.

In my response to this attorney, I included concerns of solar, energy efficiency and biomass industries.

“Land use is a big deal,” I wrote. “I have heard that because of increased difficulties getting federal land secured, solar companies are moving to get private land deals. So far those are with municipalities and small solar operations, teaming them with wastewater sites (big electrical users) in hinter-ish lands.”

I also mentioned potential interest by Westlands farmers looking for a new source of revenue for farmland due to restrictions on irrigation water. Hundreds of acres of parched and dead grape fields and orchards greet passers by in this incredibly fertile sun-drenched valley.

My co-worker Sandy Nax, who was also my compatriot on the now mothballed Fresno Bee business desk, says the Central Valley is a veritable Petri dish for clean energy with its abundant sun, wind in the Sierra foothills, methane rich dairy waste and bio-plant-rich farmland.

Should a series of studies prove correct — that clean energy will produce scads of jobs nationwide and in California — I believe a large role will be played by those bitten by the powerful American entrepreneurial spirit. I told the patent attorney to keep an eye on start-ups, especially those related to water and biomass.

For instance, the more than $800,000 fine levied on two biomass plants in Merced and Madera counties by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently will likely worry folks in that industry. The Fresno Bee’s Mark Grossi called it “one of the state’s largest air-pollution fines in recent history.”

Biomass defines the process of burning woody material and ag waste to generate electricity. Emissions are a part of that as they are for biogas from methane.

Another sector worth a look, perhaps from an attorney’s perspective, is construction. Net-zero homes, the passive house movement and others will likely become dominant features of the new home market. A part of that is retrofits, something we’re quite familiar with at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization.

The practice of auditing buildings and upgrading systems that show inefficiencies is gaining converts and consumer interest. Some big players are starting to do this elsewhere. For instance, the Empire State Building is now a model of efficiency after a massive overhaul.

I was talking about the status of the clean energy movement with Valley hydrogen power expert Gene Johnson, and he said the best bet for change is talking up the subject to our young people. “Education is the key to this whole thing,” he said.

I convinced him to be one of the potential speakers in a program we’re working on with Valley high schools and colleges to prepare students for clean energy and entrepreneurial opportunities. Gene is one of those amazing people who can inspire people after 5 minutes in his presence. For example, he decided he wanted a hydrogen powered car so converted a glossy yellow Chevy SSR to run on the clean burning fuel.

Gene’s pretty optimistic about the future of clean energy. “Once people see food and gas prices going up… they’ll realize self-sufficiency is the best way to deal with it,” he said. Gene’s definition of self-sufficiency is pretty global and refers to the United States being able to produce all its own energy, from multiple sources.

Sandy and I keep up with news, and on the subject of clean energy and energy efficiency it looks pretty good. Our hope is that this industry takes off in the next couple of years. That may be optimistic, but things are definitely happening.

The jolt of federal stimulus money didn’t hurt. But it’s limited. In fact, we’re working on a couple of stimulus grants that sunset in the next 12 months. So we are biased — a bit.

We were heartened by a post on grist.org by Bracken Hendricks and Jorge Madrid with the Center for American Progress in which they called “clean energy technology one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global economy and it is projected to grow to $2.3 trillion by 2020.”

They also said American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the official name of stimulus money) sustained the nation’s fledgling clean energy industry when it was struggling due to the economy and global competition.

Nice to hear. I put a comment on their post saying as much.