Sometimes we will receive questions from clients regarding their disability legal documents. For instance, every family that we work with knows that they need their Health Care Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, and Living Will Declaration. However, we will sometimes receive questions regarding the difference between a springing power of attorney and a durable power of attorney.
In general, a financial power of attorney allows you to name a trusted family member to make important financial decisions for you in the event that you are ever in a position where you are no longer able to make those financial decisions for yourself any longer. In addition, a health care power of attorney allows the trusted family member that you select to make health care decisions on your behalf and access medical records in the event that you are unable to do so.
However, a durable power of attorney, such as a financial power of attorney, can be set up in two distinct ways. First, a financial power of attorney can be set up as a durable and general power of attorney. What this means is that the power of attorney is effective the moment that you sign the disability legal document. What I mean is that the moment that you sign the durable general power of attorney naming your wife as the trusted family member (attorney-in-fact), then your wife is immediately authorized to make decisions on your behalf such as withdraw money from bank accounts, buy and sell assets, and even sell real estate.
A springing power of attorney, on the other hand, is a different type of disability legal document. A springing power of attorney only becomes effective upon the occurrence of a specific event, usually, the event being your incapacitation and inability to make decisions on your own behalf. Therefore, just as the name says, it springs into effect upon the occurrence of a specific event, your incapacitation.