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What is a springing power of attorney?

Sometimes called a conditional power of attorney, this legal document is a type of Durable Power of Attorney document that only comes into effect after certain conditions are met, typically when the principal becomes disabled or mentally incompetent.

However, it could be used in a variety of situations.  For example, someone in the military might create a springing power of attorney form to be prepared for the possibility of being deployed overseas or disabled, which would give a relative powers to handle financial affairs in these specific situations only. 

How is it different from a durable power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney is in effect when you're both cognizant and incapacitated. For example, you might give a son or daughter power over your finances or certain assets because they're better with money or because you don't the time.

On the other hand, a springing power of attorney only takes effect after you're incapacitated.

Who decides when someone is mentally incompetent or incapacitated?

Although the process varies state to state, generally, there is some sort of formal procedure. It's smart to note in your legal document exactly what you consider "incapacitated" to mean. Often times, people who create a power of attorney form include language that requires a doctor's certification of mental incompetence or incapacitation.

If instructions are not included, it becomes more difficult to legally determine when the POA will go into effect.  In some cases when the requirements for determining mental competence have not been articulated in the document, the appointed agent is responsible for making the final determination.

How to create a power of attorney

We have power of attorney documents you can fill out online. Simply follow our step-by-step process and we'll help you every step of the way. In your document, you will be able to choose whether or not your power of attorney is springing or not.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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