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What are the Types of Powers of Attorney and what are the Differences?

POWER OF ATTORNEY - 09/01/11

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to take control of your affairs should you become unable to effectively do so. The person appointed becomes the agent, or attorney-in-fact, and the person who appoints is known as the principal. There are various types of powers of attorney and the one that you choose depends on the requirements of your current situation.

1. Non-Durable Power of Attorney

The non-durable power of attorney is used only for a set period of time and usually for a particular transaction in which you grant your agent authority to act on your behalf. Once the transaction is completed, or should the principal become incapacitated during this time, the non-durable power of attorney ceases.

2. Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney is much more encompassing than the non-durable power of attorney and it can be used to allow an agent to manage all the affairs of the principal should they become unable to do so. It does not have a set time period and it becomes effective immediately upon the incapacitation of the principal. It does expire upon the principal’s death.

Nominating a Power of Attorney with the Help of a POA Form or Template


A power of attorney template or POA form can be used to nominate a power of attorney to represent an individual and their affairs in several different areas should they become incapacitated.

3. Special or Limited Power of Attorney

A special or limited power of attorney is used on a limited basis for one-time financial or banking transactions, or for the sale of a particular property. This is most often used when the principal is unable to complete the transaction due to prior commitments or illness and wants to appoint an agent to act on their behalf. The agent has no other authority to act on behalf of the principal other than what is assigned to them in the limited power of attorney.

4. Medical Power of Attorney

The medical power of attorney grants authority to the agent to take specific control over the healthcare decisions of the principal should they become incapacitated or unable to do so. This usually takes effect upon the consent of the presiding physician and it allows the agent to authorize all medical decisions related to the principal.

5. Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney becomes effective at a future time and only when a specific event occurs, such as the incapacitation of the principal or a triggering event that occurs while the principal is out of the country and unable to act upon it. This type of power of attorney can be durable or non-durable and can encompass any number of affairs the principal wants to assign to the agent.

Regardless of your circumstances, there is a POA form that can be crafted specifically for your needs. This is a valuable tool to assist people with any legal requirement. Whether it be assuming control of their affairs because of incapacitation or taking charge of a business deal that a principal cannot attend because of other commitments, the power of attorney form allows people the flexibility and security to know their affairs are being looked after in a responsible manner.

LegalNature can help you with all of your personal legal form needs. Let us help you get started today. Click here to create your power of attorney forms now.

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LegalNature’s staff writers cover a wide array of topics, ranging from estate planning to business formation. Our writers are all experts in their respective fields.

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