1. Different Kinds of Power of Attorney
2. Durable Power of Attorney

Spring power of attorney refers to the powers that "spring" into effect when a person becomes incapacitated. Incapacitation can be a result of poor health, injury, or other unfortunate circumstances and means that a person is no longer able to make their own decisions.

Intended to guide decision-making, enhance comfort, and provide care for an incapacitated person, a power of attorney is an important legal document that appoints the person's loved ones to manage their affairs and make important decisions on their behalf.

Different Kinds of Power of Attorney

Considering designating power of attorney? There are a handful of different kinds, so it's important to consider what the purpose will be. Particularly, there is a big difference between springing power of attorney and durable power of attorney. As mentioned, the former springs into effect if a person becomes incapacitated. On the other hand, durable power of attorney becomes active as soon as you sign the legal document. Whether or not you become incapacitated, it continues to remain effective until the term is up or another required circumstance is met.

Different circumstances will require different kinds of power of attorney. It's important to understand each one and what they have to offer.

  • Durable and Non-Durable Power of Attorney: These are the most common types out of the five types of power of attorney. A durable power of attorney enables a person to have complete control over another's decisions if they, at some point, become incapable of making their own decisions. This usually occurs when a person becomes incapacitated or disabled and remains effective until their death.
    A nondurable power of attorney is for a set amount of time or a single transaction. For example, this might occur if a person is abroad, and someone else must be delegated to sell their home, manage their stock, or address another important affair. This type of power of attorney becomes active as soon as the person requests it. It may also be revoked at their request, or upon incapacitation or death.
  • Medical Power of Attorney: This type of power of attorney is very important when it comes to hospice settings, as it gives another person the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient should they become unable to communicate and make their own decisions regarding treatment. In this case, the capable person acts as a patient advocate, usually with the consent of the physician.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: This type of power of attorney is often used as an alternative to durable power of attorney. Many people do not feel comfortable giving someone else the power to make decisions for them while they are still healthy. Springing power of attorney is meant to take effect upon a specific event, date, or condition. As an example, a person who is having a serious surgery might appoint someone to be their springing power of attorney if they remain incapacitated for a while after the surgery. Their agent can make decisions on their behalf until they become capable of making decisions again. This gives the person as much control as possible.
    Springing power of attorney is also called conditional power of attorney. It is a legal document that is considered a type of durable power of attorney that only becomes effective upon certain pre-specified conditions.
  • Limited Power of Attorney: Sometimes known as "special" power of attorney, limited power of attorney grants the agent the power to handle banking, financial, and investment matters. Most often, this is used for one-time transactions if the principal person is not able to handle them as a result of illness, incapacitation, or prior commitments.

Durable Power of Attorney

Within the category of durable power of attorney, two distinct kinds exist. One is a durable power of attorney for financial affairs, which allows someone else to manage your finances if you become unable to do so yourself. The other type is durable power of attorney for health care, which allows someone else to make medical decisions for you if you've become unable to speak for yourself. Along with a living will, preparing both these documents will ensure that your financial and medical matters remain in the hands of your trusted friends or family members.

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