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A Power of Attorney is a legal document that is used to delegate legal authority from one person to another. The person who executes the Power of Attorney (gives away authority) is known as the Principal, and the recipient of authority is known as the Agent or Attorney-in-Fact. While there are many different types of durable and nondurable Powers of Attorney, only Springing Powers of Attorney are used in estate planning.
A Springing Power of Attorney is one that comes into effect as a result of some particular circumstance, most often the incapacitation of an individual due to temporary or permanent mental or physical disability.
Powers of Attorney are furthermore divided in the authority that they grant. Most commonly, they are divided between medical and financial powers. A Medical Power of Attorney grants an agent with the ability to make decisions regarding the medical care a principal should receive in the event that principal is incapable of making decisions or of making those decisions known.
A Financial Power of Attorney grants an agent with the power to make financial decisions regarding the principal's estate, which can be especially necessary in the event of long-term illnesses or disabilities.
An Agent can be a single individual or a number of individuals, and they can be empowered to act separately or jointly, and you can grant Medical Power of Attorney to one Agent, while Financial Power of Attorney is assigned to another.
Sometimes a Medical Power of Attorney is known as a living will or an Advance Health Care Directive.
Springing Powers of Attorney are an effective way to avoid court battles over the medical care you should receive in the event of certain circumstances. In particular, they can diminish or avoid hearings over your "Right to Die," in the event that you are not expected to recover from a crippling mental or physical injury.
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