When choosing estate planning tools, it is important to know when they take effect so you can plan accordingly and ensure your and your assets’ protection. Otherwise, you may be leaving your estate and your personal care in a vulnerable position. In the case of a power of attorney, you can decide when it takes effect.
There are two ways you can direct your power of attorney’s effectivity.
If you want your power of attorney to take effect only when an event takes place, you can specify it on the document. For instance, you can direct the power of attorney to take effect only if a doctor declares you incapacitated. This type of effectivity is called “springing power” wherein your agent’s power will only start when the specific event described in the document occurs.
You can also choose for the power of attorney to take effect as soon as you sign it. This type of effectivity is a “standing power.” Note that all powers of attorney hold standing power effectivity if no provision specifies their effective date.
Blending springing and standing power is possible when drafting your power of attorney. How it works is you can include conditional rules as to when the document takes effect as springing and as standing. For example, you can direct that it is standing if the agent is your spouse, but it becomes springing if, on behalf of your spouse, another person acts as agent.
Take control over your power of attorney
Knowing how you can direct your power of attorney to take effect gives you control and added protection, especially if your situation warrants it. Accordingly, you must draft your estate plan tool carefully to ensure its effectivity and benefits.