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4 Common Types of Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is an essential and legally binding document that can grant someone legal authority to manage your affairs in unforeseen or even anticipated circumstances. But with so many different types of power of attorney, deciding which is best for you can be tricky. Here are four of the most common types of power of attorney.

1. Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is an enforceable agreement that gives another person the ability to make decisions and execute some documents on your behalf. A DPOA becomes effective immediately when it is executed and grants the agent legal authority to act on the principal’s behalf financially, legally, and physically.

The term “durable” describes this document since it remains valid even if the principal loses mental capacity. A durable power of attorney takes effect upon the principal’s incapacity regardless of when it was created. Most durable POAs do not have an expiration date. The POA is revoked by the principal’s death or if the principal revokes it.

The agent is only authorized to act within the scope of the durable power of attorney agreement and must answer to the principal for any decisions or actions taken. The representative must carry out the principal’s wishes with the same diligence as if the principal undertook the tasks themselves.

2. Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is the same as a Durable POA except that it does not become effective until the principal is incapacitated. Once incapacitation occurs, the agent will have the same authority as granted by a Durable POA for as long as the incapacitation continues. One possible disadvantage of the springing POA is that there can be a delay between the actual incapacitation and the agent being able to get prooof of the incapacitation.

3. Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney authorizes the agent to act on behalf of the principal in all matters related to the principal’s health. The power of attorney goes into force immediately if the principal cannot make healthcare choices for themselves.

A representative with medical power of attorney can decide on behalf of the client about the latter’s diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medicine, end-of-life care, and health care services. The agent will ensure that the principal receives medical treatment in accordance with any do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order or living will instructions.

The principal can give more detailed directions to the agent about how to handle specific medical situations by incorporating them into the medical power of attorney paperwork.

4. Special or Limited Power of Attorney

With a limited or special power of attorney, one person can represent another in a specific matter. The document will clearly outline the authority provided to the nominated agent.

The document must specify the scope of the assigned authority. The principal can retain some control while delegating responsibility to numerous limited power of attorneys for specific situations.

Contact us at Crews Law Offices for legal advice and representation as you decide on the kind of power of attorney you want to implement with your will.