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When a springing power of attorney goes into effect

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2023 | Powers Of Attorney |

When you draft a power of attorney, you empower another individual to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated due to illness or injury.

Generally, power of attorney designations are used for two specific purposes. A power of attorney may address legal and financial concerns, or it may address medical concerns. Certainly, each specific document can be written in a different way so they are very flexible and could address a wide variety of issues. But these are the main two categories of concerns that these estate planning documents tend to address.

Isn’t it risky to sign away your rights?

People are often concerned that drafting a power of attorney feels too risky. Say that you want someone else to be able to make medical decisions for you, so you draft a power of attorney. Do you have to ask that person to come along the next time you go to the hospital? Have you given up your own autonomy and ability to make your own decisions?

The answer is a resounding “no” if you use a springing power of attorney. This should be done if you are drafting documents proactively and you are in relatively good health at the moment. You can set a power of attorney up so that it only goes into effect if you’re incapacitated. This is when it would “spring” into action, and the other person would have the ability to make decisions for you.

If and until you are incapacitated and can no longer advocate on behalf of your own interests, you will retain all of your legal rights and you will be able to make your own decisions. You will not have to worry about seeing your own wishes overridden by someone else. Until you really need it under highly-specific circumstances, your power of attorney won’t be used to make decisions on your behalf.