Things to Know About the Different Types of Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is necessary if the principal becomes incapable because of illness or disability. Additionally, the agent may act on behalf of a principal if the principal cannot sign financial or legal agreements.

What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A power of attorney, abbreviated POA, is a legal document that empowers an attorney-in-charge and a legal agent to act on the principal’s behalf. The attorney in charge is authorized to act on behalf of the owner in a broad or restricted capacity. The agent has the power to make choices on behalf of the principal about medical treatment, financial issues, or property.

When the originator of a power of attorney expires, revokes it, or is declared invalid by a court of law, the power of attorney terminates. It will also terminate when the originator divorces a spouse entrusted with a power of attorney or when an agent is unable to continue performing the specified responsibilities.

Different Types of Durable Powers of Attorney

General Power of Attorney

The general power of attorney is a broad mandate that empowers an agent to manage the principal’s affairs. The agent, or the person authorized to act on the principal’s behalf, is tasked with several responsibilities. The duties may involve purchasing or selling real estate and engaging in contractual agreements on behalf of the principal.

Special Power of Attorney

Individuals seeking to restrict the agent’s authority should choose restricted or special power of attorney. Before notarizing a restricted power of attorney, the principal should be as specific as possible regarding the scope of the agent’s authority. If a person is unsure about the extent of activities that should be covered by the power of attorney, it is better to consult with a legal professional.

Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney is only valid for the period specified by the individual who wishes to have someone else act on his or her behalf. A non-durable POA will eliminate when it is terminated or the stated expiry date comes. However, what happens if the agent gets incapacitated? Is the POA still valid?

In that case, the principal would like that the POA continues to be in effect even if he or she loses communication. For instance, if the principal falls unconscious but wishes for the spouse to act as an agent, this may be stated in a durable power of attorney. The POA empowers the spouse to act on behalf of the principal even when the principal is ill or dead.

Healthcare or Medical Attorney-in-fact

If the principal becomes very sick, he or she retains the ability to choose the level of care desired. A medical or health care POA empowers the agent to act on the principal’s behalf in the event of a life-threatening condition. The majority of health POA’s are durable because they consider the possibility that the principal may become incapacitated and unable to make choices independently.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing (or conditioned) power of attorney takes effect only upon the occurrence of a specific event, medical condition (usually incapacitation), or other event stated in the POA. Military members, for example, may create a springing power of attorney that takes effect when they are stationed abroad. It may come to an end at a certain period when the principal becomes disabled or die.

In all the situations outlined previously, the principal should consult with counsel before selecting an agent. Also, the counsel should guide the principal through each stage of signing documents of a power of attorney to ensure they understand all matters included in the document.

Now that you know the various kinds of powers of attorney, you may confidently choose the ones that are appropriate for your strategy.

How a Power of Attorney Functions

The principal has the option of downloading or purchasing POA templates. If any of the two ways is used to get the template, the principal should verify that they are from the state of residency. POA papers are critical, and the principle should not assume that the papers acquired are proper. Before the POA procedure can begin, the POA papers must be verified.

A principal’s best course of action is to contact a family law attorney in their state of residency. If the related legal costs are more than the principal can afford, the principal can contact a legal services agency. Besides, the principal can also contact a legal aid via the Legal Services Corporation’s website. Principals who qualify will be admitted free of charge.

In several jurisdictions, notarizing the principal’s signature is required. In certain cases, the witness’ signature must be notarized as well. Additionally, some legal conditions are not universally applicable. There is, for example, no uniform POA principal form.

Procedural and legal requirements differ according to the principal’s domicile. While a durable POA is generally recognized, some functions, including modifying or creating a will, contracting marriage, or casting a ballot, cannot be delegated.


A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants an agent the right to act on the principal’s behalf. The agent may be granted limited or full power to make health, property, or financial decisions on behalf of the principal. A POA is often used when individuals are incapable of making their own decisions due to injury or illness (or something else).

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