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What is a springing power of attorney?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Powers Of Attorney |

A power of attorney allows you to sign your rights away, to some degree. You give somebody else the opportunity to make decisions for you that they usually wouldn’t have the right to make. For example, a medical power of attorney could let them decide if you’re going to be kept on life support or not.

As you can imagine, this means that these documents have to be handled with care. You do need to draft the power of attorney long before it needs to be used, as a part of your estate plan. But does that mean that you would immediately lose the right to make your own medical decisions? Should you be worried that the agent you chose is going to immediately take over this role since you gave them that legal power?

When does it take effect?

This is why a springing power of attorney is useful, as it doesn’t “spring” into effect until a certain standard is met. Generally, it does not legally transfer power until one person is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make their own decisions. The power of attorney, therefore, is a safety net to show that you will have someone you love making your medical decisions if you’re not able to do so on your own.

Incapacitation can mean a number of different things. For instance, some people simply suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other degenerative diseases that could mean they become slowly incapacitated over time. Others may suffer from sudden injuries or the onset of something like a heart attack or a stroke.

But a power of attorney can be set up to address all of these situations. Just make sure that you know exactly what legal steps you’ll need to take to do so.