What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a document in which one person (the principal) gives another (the agent) the authority to act on their behalf. Depending on the situation, the principal can authorize one of a few different types of power of attorney.

Time-Effected Power of Attorney

Most powers of attorney go into effect the moment the principal signs it. However, two types begin and end at a certain time. These actions are:

  • Durable Power of Attorney: This type of power of attorney goes into effect after it is signed by the principal and remains in effect even if the principal is incapacitated.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: This type of power of attorney does not become effective until the principal in incapacitated. The intention is to avoid giving the agent immediate authority over things you are still able to decide upon on your own.

Legal-Focused Power of Attorney

Three types of legal matters are focused more on the process than on the time they go into effect. These actions are:

  • General Power of Attorney: This gives the agent authority over a broad array of legal matters. For example, your agent can sign a property deed on the principal’s behalf if they are not in the area at the time. This type of power of attorney usually ends after a date specified in the document.
  • Limited Power of Attorney: This gives the agent authority to act in only a small portion of legal matters or a specific situation. For example, a principal may grant an agent access to signing a certain real estate document or to representing the principal on all legal matters while they are out of the country.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney: This gives the agent the ability to make decisions regarding the principal’s medical treatment if they are unable to make or communicate those decisions on their own.

Helping Our Clients Decide on the Right Type of Power of Attorney for Their Needs

Everyone is different, and an estate plan that works for one person may not work for another. At Palmer, Rodak & Associates, our attorneys will guide you toward the power of attorney that is most appropriate for your situation.

Call our firm today at (760) 573-2223 or contact us online for your consultation.