Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal arrangement and document by which one person (called the principal) gives to another (the agent) the authority to take certain specified actions on their behalf.

A power of attorney can serve a wide range of purposes and situations, but most often concern one’s financial or medical affairs. 

Durable POA and Springing POA

A key characteristic of a POA is whether it remains in effect if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions, such as if they are in a coma or if they are deemed mentally incapacitated by an illness such as advanced Alzheimer’s. If it does remain in effect, it is a durable power of attorney.

Springing powers of attorney, take effect only if and when the principal is legally determined to be incapacitated.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is simply a POA in which the authority granted to the agent concerns the principal’s finances and/or business matters.

Financial POAs are commonly broad in scope, but like all POAs, they are customizable to your exact needs. You might want a POA that allows your agent to do some or all of the following:

  • Pay your and/or your family’s ongoing expenses
  • Collect government benefits on your behalf
  • File and pay income taxes or property taxes
  • Manage your small business
  • Manage your retirement accounts or other investments

Your estate planning attorney can help you determine exactly what authority to grant your agent.


One purpose of a financial POA is convenience. A POA created for the sake of convenience may be durable or non-durable depending on its scope and how it fits into your complete estate plan.

Medical incapacity

Another purpose of a financial power of attorney is in case of medical incapacity. If you become medically unable to make decisions, a financial POA allows your agent to keep your affairs in order while you are incapacitated. Note, that this only applies to durable POAs.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is a POA used to grant an agent authority to make decisions concerning your health care in the event you are medically incapacitated. It takes effect only if and when you become too sick, injured, or cognitively impaired to make such decisions on your own.

For more on medical POAs, please see our page on advanced medical directives [link].

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney is a POA used to grant an agent authority to make decisions and act on your behalf concerning specific real estate transactions typically in the event you are unavailable to participate in those transactions yourself.

If you need an attorney to represent you in contested or uncontested power of attorney matters, call Hulse & Wynter today or use the form below to start a conversation with us.


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