You may already be familiar with Power of Attorney and how to use it in estate planning. Power of Attorney (or POA), gives you the ability to appoint someone else (an agent) to help you make decisions in the event that you are unable of doing so on your own. PoAs can be useful in medical emergencies, to carry out business remotely, or as part of estate planning. However, before you set up your own PoA, here are the differences between the three main types: durable, non-durable, and springing.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is established while you are alive, and lasts until you pass away, at which point the probate process will take over. A durable PoA will allow the agent to pay bills, manage investments, and make healthcare decisions in your name. (Note that you can appoint a medical PoA known as a health care proxy as well.) In drafting a PoA, you should be able to specify the scope of responsibilities of your agent.
This is the type of PoA most commonly used by those engaged in estate planning. However, in choosing someone to give a durable PoA, you should choose someone you trust. PoA involves a great deal of responsibility. Furthermore, there is a possibility that you or your assets may come to harm under someone else’s care.
Non-Durable Power of Attorney
A non-durable power of attorney has a limited time scope. For example, if you know that you’re going to be out of the country for a limited period of time, a non-durable PoA might be useful in wrapping up a real estate transaction or paying your bills. This PoA can be useful, but it is deeply situation-dependent.
Springing Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney is one that only takes effect after a certain event in the future. This can include an illness or more travel arrangements. You should be as specific as possible in describing the event—for example, requiring a doctor’s letter, or some other benchmark of incapacity.
For more reading on powers of attorney and other end-of-life planning documents, consult the Jazmine blog!