Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Robert Galliano Attorney at Law
Copenbarger - Copenbarger, LLP 

Which Power of Attorney is Right for Me?


Last updated 10/23/2020 at 1:34pm

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone to handle your financial affairs for you if you ever become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make financial decisions for yourself. Since there are a number of different types of POAs to choose from, you first need to decide what goals you want the document to accomplish. Are you traveling outside of the country for a significant amount of time? Are you unable to handle your financial affairs by yourself? Do you need a matter taken care of quickly, but you can’t handle it personally? Do you want to make sure your financial affairs are taken care of in the event you’re hospitalized? Read on to discover the POA that’s just right for each of these scenarios.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is the most common POA used by estate planning lawyers. This document grants agents, who are the people named in the POA to handle financial affairs, the ability to start making decisions as soon as the document is signed. Many seniors often choose to have a Durable Power of Attorney so that their agents (usually their adult children) can take over their financial affairs to make their parents’ lives a little bit simpler. The adult children will also have a better sense of their parents’ finances when it comes time for probate proceedings.

Springing Power of Attorney

The main difference between a Springing Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney is that a Springing POA only comes into effect when the person is declared unable to make financial decisions by one or sometimes two healthcare professionals. Younger people who don’t necessarily want to give financial control to their agents right away often choose to use a Springing Power of Attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney is typically only in effect for a set period of time and is often used by people who are traveling out of state or internationally and would like to ensure their financial affairs can be taken care of while they are gone. For example, a college student traveling abroad for a semester may want to create a General POA so that their parents can help them manage any financial affairs that come up when they are out of the country. In this case, a General Power of Attorney would be created before the student travels and would set strict limits on when the document will expire.

Limited Power of Attorney

A Limited Power of Attorney grants an agent control over very specific interests, often for a very limited amount of time. Limited POAs are not usually part of a comprehensive estate plan but are used for instances such as a real estate sale where the seller will not be able to attend the closing. In this case, a Limited Power of Attorney is made to handle real estate dealings related to a specific sale and is only in effect for the date of the closing. Once that date has passed or the closing is concluded, the POA is no longer valid.

If you have any questions about what type of Power of Attorney is right for your situation, or if you currently have a Power of Attorney and want to have it reviewed to make sure it’s still valid, please contact our California estate and elder law offices at 800-244-8814 to set up a consultation.

– Robert Galliano, Attorney at Law, Copenbarger & Copenbarger, LLP

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