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Occasionally, we have people come to the law office seeking a Power of Attorney for one purpose or another.  We always do our best to help people with the legal work and documents they need, but sometimes we cannot help people with a Power of Attorney–no lawyer can.  The situation I am speaking of is when a person is already incapacitated, and the family comes to us hoping to “get Power of Attorney over” the person.

That’s not how a Power of Attorney works.  It cannot be extended “over” someone who is incapacitated. It MUST be voluntarily granted by one person, called the Principal, to another person, called the Agent, and it must be granted while the Principal has the capacity to convey the powers.

What is a Power of Attorney?

First of all, a Power of Attorney is one of several pre-need documents that everyone should have. The pre-need documents every adult needs in addition to a Power of Attorney are a Will, a Living Will, a Medical Power of Attorney, a Designation of Guardian, and a HIPPA release.  See more information on these documents here.

A Power of Attorney a relatively simple document that authorizes one person to perform lawful business for the benefit of another. I like to think of the Agent and the Principal like Alfred and Bruce Wayne. Bruce is the Principal who granted Alfred the Power of Attorney. Bruce is busy doing his work at Wayne Enterprises and being Batman, so Alfred handles the chores as his Agent.

Immediate Power Of Attorney

There are two main types of Powers of Attorney. The first goes into effect as soon as it’s signed. It’s effective immediately. As soon as it is signed, the Agent can go open a bank account, or pay utilities, or buy or sell real estate, or numerous other business tasks on behalf of the Principal. The only catch is the business must be lawful and for the benefit of the Principal.

Springing Power of Attorney

The other type of Power of Attorney is called a Springing Power of Attorney. It is signed but remains dormant until the Principal is incapacitated or cannot act on his own. Then the Power of Attorney “springs” into action, authorizing the Agent with all the powers allowed by the Power of Attorney.

Do I need an Immediate or a Springing Power of Attorney?

Which type is better? Arguments can be made for both types. Some people trust their Agent completely so they use an immediate Power of Attorney. Some Principals want the Agent to be able to act only when the Principal can’t act on their own. We advise the client of the distinction, and we draft the document based on the client’s informed choice. We do not have a preference. What we do prefer is getting a Power of Attorney and other pre-need documents right away because who among us can tell what tomorrow holds?

Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm that uses a holistic approach to help people get on with their new life by getting done with their old life.  We believe having a thoughtful will package is family law, and we offer a robust selection of testamentary and other documents our clients need to confidently move on with their new lives.  This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel.  If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC.  For more information, contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in and press Go.

Paul Youngblood #youneedawill #lawfw #youngbloodlaw #somedayistoday #collaborativedivorce #beingdivorceddoesntsuck