Simple Definition of Power of Attorney


Power of attorney is a document that gives someone (referred to as attorney in fact) the right to make legal decisions for someone who can no longer, for physical or mental reasons, make the decisions on his own. Power of attorney can be granted through a will or can be court ordered. There are various types of power of attorney, each offering specific rights and limitations.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This is a simple and very specific power of attorney. It gives the attorney in fact the power to make legal decisions regarding health only. This power of attorney does not give the attorney in fact power over any financial resources or decisions. A health power of attorney is often designated in a living will.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is a court-appointed power of attorney designated when a doctor indicates someone's health has deteriorated to the point where she can no longer make decisions for herself. This type of power of attorney is temporary until a more permanent power of attorney can be established.

Non Durable Power of Attorney

The non durable power of attorney is only a temporary power of attorney, put into place when someone is unable to make decisions for himself on a temporary basis. In many cases, the party who is giving power of attorney does so willingly and is in a condition to do so.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable power of attorney carries many of the same decision-making powers, but it lasts until the principle (the person whose affairs are being handled by an attorney in fact) dies. This type of power of attorney is used in cases where the principle is mentally unable to make decisions.

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