4 Types of Power of Attorney – Which One Do You Need?

You must have about power of attorney before – if not from relatives or friends, then from tv shows and films. But what is it? Quite simply put, a power of attorney is a legal document that allows the principal (you) to appoint or designate another person i.e., the agent or the attorney-in-fact to take control of your affairs and make decisions on your behalf. Even businesses appoint POAs as part of their business model to ensure well-informed decisions are taken in case of the absence of the business owner.

There are several types of power of attorneys, each surviving a specific purpose and granting different levels of authority to the appointed person (agent or attorney-in-fact). A power of attorney should also be long lasting and hence, choosing the right power of attorney is equally essential. Among the various types of POAs, you should choose the one that you need. To make it easy for you to choose the right POA, here are their different types along with the purpose they serve.

Conventional Power of Attorney

This is the most commonly preferred POA and is also known as a special or limited power of attorney. In this type of POA, the appointed agent has limited power over certain areas as specified by the designator. Usually, this POA starts as soon as it is signed until the designator becomes mentally unstable to make well-informed coherent decisions. Here, the designator needs to be very specific in giving the power to the selected agent.

Durable Power of Attorney

Similar to the conventional POA, durable POA starts when the document is signed unless stated differently and continues even after the designator becomes incapacitated (medically). Although, the designator has the right to cancel the POA if they wished but otherwise durable POA grants the agent decision making powers on affairs stated for a lifetime. This type of POA is quite popular as the affairs can be maintained seamlessly and inexpensively by the appointed attorney-in-fact.

Springing Power of Attorney

This one is different from the previous two POAs. Unlike conventional and durable POA, a springing POA is only triggered when a specific event takes place or there is a medical condition that makes the designator unable to make coherent decisions. The designator can also specify the types of events when the POA should be triggered to make it clearer. A springing POA ends at the specified time mentioned in the document or when the designator is dead.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical POA is similar to a durable POA and springing POA but focused on healthcare decisions or healthcare proxy. In such cases, lasting power of attorney health and welfare is effective when specific conditions are met. For example, if the designator is incapacitated because of medical issues and is incapable of making coherent decisions, then the attorney-in-fact has the right to make decisions on the designator’s behalf.

Such medical POAs need to be very specific and have several sub-types. The designator can also customize a medical POA to be triggered when they are medically incapacitated and end when they have recovered and can make well-informed decisions.

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