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What is a Springing Durable Power of Attorney?

By Christy Bieber
Updated May 17, 2024
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Springing durable power of attorney is when one person writes a document vesting another person with the legal power to act for him, but only upon the occurrence of a specified future event. Springing durable power of attorney is a special type of power of attorney. Power of attorney, in general, is a grant of authority to someone else which can be limited or total.

Power of attorney is commonly used in estate planning or if someone expects to be unable to make decisions on his own behalf. There are a number of situations where it is important to create a legal power of attorney. If a person expects at any point to be unable to make decisions or unable to act to sign legal papers, then he may wish to grant someone power of attorney to act on his behalf.

For example, if someone is going to be going overseas to fight in a war as part of his military service, he may grant power of attorney to his wife while he is overseas. He can grant the power of attorney to be limited or total. His wife will then be permitted to act on his behalf or make decisions on his behalf in the areas with which he vested her with power.

He may, for example, specify that she has only financial power of attorney, in which case she is allowed to make any financial decisions, sign bank documents, pay bills and do other things related to his finances. However, since she was not granted with medical power of attorney, she would not be permitted to make medical decisions on his behalf. Medical power of attorney is also common. In such cases, the grantor names someone to decide medical issues on his behalf if he is unable to do so because he is in a coma, mentally unstable or otherwise incapacitated.

A springing durable power of attorney is used if someone wants to grant power of attorney, but not immediately. For example, a person may wish to allow his wife or his son to make all decisions on his behalf, but may not wish for the wife or son to have that power right away. He can then write the springing durable power of attorney so that his wife or son becomes able to act on his behalf, but only after he becomes incapacitated or unable to make those decisions himself. The springing durable power of attorney must specify the specific event that will make the power of attorney active.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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