A power of attorney is a right transferred by one person to another, which gives the receiver authority to make decisions on behalf of the person who gave them the rights. The transfer of rights is carried out or activated with a trigger. There are several types of powers of attorney, and each type is activated with a specific trigger. The springing power of attorney is the type that we will be covering in this article. Here we will define what it is, what triggers it to take effect, and some steps to prepare a springing power of attorney.
What Is a Springing Power of Attorney?
The word “springing” doesn’t seem like a legal term because it doesn’t give off a feeling of legality. That is why you’re wondering if a springing power of attorney actually exists and what it means. The term springing power of attorney is called such because it springs into action or takes effect when the principal (the person who transferred rights) becomes incapacitated. The agent (the person whom the rights were transferred to) will immediately have the power to make decisions for the principal. The scope of authority transferred by the principal to the agent is provided in detail in the power of attorney document, which can be broad or limited.
A springing power of attorney can be of several types, and typical examples are financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney. A financial power of attorney grants authority to the agent to make financial decisions for the principal when they become incapacitated, and the medical power of attorney is for making medical decisions. The focus of the document determines what type of power of attorney it is. If you are planning to make one, be sure to know which power of attorney is most favorable or applicable to you.
Spring Me Not
There are several reasons why you should and shouldn’t get a springing power of attorney. From how it’s defined above, this type of power of attorney only takes effect when the principal gets incapacitated. It does not take effect immediately, which limits the agent’s access to the principal’s finances. When it is activated, the principal will not have to worry about who will take care of their finances, medical needs, and other stuff they have included in the springing power of attorney. Well, that’s good news! But problems arise when you think that things had turned out the way you want them to. After the principal becomes incapacitated, the power of attorney is activated, but the agent cannot exercise the rights granted to them. They’ll have to wait until a proof, such as a certified document from a doctor, is provided. The next problem is how incapacity or incompetence is defined in the springing power of attorney document. There’d be a problem if it’s no the same with the doctor’s certificate. And there are privacy issues with the HIPAA that the agent needs to face to prove the power of attorney validity. All these causes delays to the activation of the granted rights, and again you’ll start to wonder why it’s called a springing power of attorney.
With all that information, should you consider using a durable power of attorney or a general power of attorney instead? The decision is all up to you.
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How to Prepare a Springing Power of Attorney
A legal document, such as a springing power of attorney, is not something that an ordinary person can do alone. It’s the job of legal professionals to make one. Well, if you can’t make one, you can at least do something to help in the preparation of the document.
Step #1: To spring or not to spring
The other types of powers of attorney are almost the same and have very little difference from each other. Learn of all the different types first before finally deciding to go for a springing power of attorney. Choosing the type with benefits that outweighs the risks is always the best.
Step #2: Choose your agent
It’s important to choose an agent that you can trust. That is why it’s commonplace to choose a family member or a friend as the assigned. They’ll be making decisions on your behalf and will have access to very sensitive personal information so you might want to consider someone worthy.
Step #3: Define incompetence or incapacity
Clearly state what you mean by incompetence or incapacity on your power of attorney document. The use of words that are broad and used as a general term can be confusing and may cause delays in the activation of the power of attorney.
Step #4: Fill out a form
You can get a blank power of attorney form from your lawyer or download one online. Fill out this form with the required information, including the agent’s name and your definition of incompetence or incapacity. You may also create your own form using a power of attorney format and samples, like sample limited power of attorney forms, as your reference.
Step #5: Consult a lawyer
After the preparation, seek the help of a lawyer and discuss with them additional details for your springing power of attorney. It’s good if you already have a good family lawyer whom you trust. If not, look for the best lawyer who is an expert with powers of attorney.
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There is definitely no bargaining for an extenson when you’re time is up. What’s worse is you can never tell when it will happen. Preparing for what is to come is the best last thing that you can do for yourself and the family you’ll be leaving behind. With a power of attorney, you know that you have made just the right preparations.
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