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What are the different types of power of attorney?

There are three types of power of attorney:
  • Nondurable or limited power of attorney. This type of power of attorney takes effect immediately after signing and is usually used for a specific or “one-off” transaction such as the sale of real estate. If the principal subsequently becomes incapacitated, the nondurable power of attorney is revoked.
  • Durable power of attorney. This type of power of attorney guarantees that the named agent retains powers of attorney in the event the care recipient is incapacitated or deemed unable to make decisions.
  • Springing power of attorney. A springing power of attorney becomes legally effective at a predetermined time, for example, after the care recipient has been declared mentally incapacitated. A springing power of attorney can be a nondurable or a durable power of attorney once it goes into effect.
There are three types of power of attorney (POA). The main differences between them are when they go into effect and when they expire.
  • Non-durable power of attorney goes into effect upon signing and expires if/when you are declared mentally incompetent.
  • Durable power of attorney (DPOA) goes into effect upon signing and expires when you die.
  • Springing power of attorney goes into effect upon a specific event, date or condition (such as a declaration of mental incompetence) and expires when you die.
For the purposes of estate planning and end-of-life planning, a durable power of attorney is generally recommended. With DPOA, there is no question about when the POA becomes effective (as there often is with a springing POA), and the agent may act on your behalf if you become incompetent or incapacitated (which is not the case with a non-durable POA).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.