What is a Springing Power of Attorney, and Why Should You Care?

Client sitting with an attorney

An estate plan is extremely important because it helps to establish a plan of care for your loved ones after you are gone. However, that’s not all that it can do. An estate plan can also help to establish how you are to be cared for should you be unable to take care of yourself at any point during your lifetime. Simply put, should you become incapacitated, your estate plan can establish who will act on your behalf. 

One way to establish this is through a Power of Attorney, or POA. A POA allows you to appoint someone of your choosing to immediately act on your behalf. One type of POA is a Springing POA. A Springing POA begins after a specific event has occurred. Therefore, a springing POA can occur can be set up to take effect should you become incapacitated. 

Meeting Established Conditions

Springing POAs are conditional. This means that they only take effect once certain conditions are met. An immediate financial POA goes into effect right after it has been signed, whereas a springing POA doesn’t go into effect until a particular pre-established condition is met. Springing POAs can be extremely helpful. However, if you fail to properly set one up, it can cause a number of issues. 

As mentioned, a springing POA can be set up to go into effect once someone becomes incapacitated. But what exactly does this mean? Incapacity not only encompasses physical and mental disabilities and illnesses, but also advanced age, drug abuse, and more situations in which an individual is not of sound mind to make decisions for him or herself. In determining whether or not you are considered to be incapacitated, it requires a finding of such from your treating physician. Once your treating physician finds that you are incapacitated, a springing POA will go into effect. 

Your Attorney-in-Fact

After you are deemed incapacitated, the person whom you assigned will begin to act on your behalf. This person is known as an agent or an attorney-in-fact. An attorney-in-fact is responsible for making decisions on your behalf in the same way that you would be making them had you not become incapacitated. However, you can set up your springing POA to limit the types of decisions that your agent can make. 

While your signed springing POA is automatically revoked upon your death, you can also revoke it at any point during your lifetime – so long as you are not already deemed incapacitated. Although you are not required to have a POA of any kind, it can greatly serve you. Without a springing POA it can take months before your family members are able to establish a conservatorship or guardianship. This saves everyone a lot of time, money, and stress. 

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA to Establish a Comprehensive Estate Plan

Should you become incapacitated the last thing that you would want is for your loved ones to struggle or for no one to be able to help act in your best interest. A qualified attorney can help you to ensure that your POA is correctly established. This is why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney who has experience in dealing powers of attorney and comprehensive estate plans 

At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we care about you and will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Estate planning/Trusts