Types of Power of Attorney
Types of power of attorney come in several different forms.
Major Types of Power of Attorney
Limited Power of Attorney
A limited power of attorney is a power of attorney that only allows another person to take limited actions for you. For example, if you are travelling, you can sign a power of attorney to allow your friend to sign for you to sell your house while your are out of town. The limited power of attorney often has an expiration date.
Durable means the power of attorney continues to be active even when you can’t make sound, rational decisions (i.e. you are mentally incompetent). You can set an expiration date or expiration conditions on a durable power of attorney. Commonly, you set a condition that in case of a divorce, your ex-spouse loses their power over your affairs. In Arkansas, this type of power of attorney is the default. In some states, it isn’t. Check with a local attorney to find out the rules in your state.
Stops working when you become mentally incompetent.
A springing power of attorney only becomes active when you are mentally incompetent or activate the power with a form.
A healthcare power of attorney is very similar to other powers of attorney. However, it is strictly for healthcare decisions. It often does not become active unless you absolutely cannot make medical decisions for yourself.
Common Combination of Types of Power of Attorney for Legal Matters
Durable Power of Attorney
This is probably the most common type. It is Durable and non-springing. That is, it becomes active immediately, doesn’t depend on you being declared incompetent, and stays active even if you are declared mentally incompetent.
Springing Power of Attorney
This type of power of attorney “springs” into being active when you are declared mentally incompetent. Often the conditions for being declared mentally incompetent are listed in the power of attorney document. One of the most common ways is to have a note from 2 independent doctors.