Power of Attorney Document Types and When to Use Them

Power of Attorney Document Types and When to Use Them

Power of attorney is a legal form that declares an agent’s rights to decide for another person. For instance, when individuals become old, they cannot make reasonable decisions or manage their finances. That is why children or other relatives take responsibility for such persons and start to represent them everywhere. However, legal processes require representatives to have rights given by a principal to sign official documents or manipulate finances. Therefore, a power of attorney (POA) is a document that confirms the legality of actions made on behalf of another person.

As with any legal form used in the USA, a power of attorney is difficult to fill out and confusing in applications for beginners. This post will help you to learn more about the features of POA, the main types and differences between them, and situations when you can use it. If you need help completing the power of attorney form, you can get a FormsPal’s guide here.

Power of Attorney Types

There are four main types of POA forms, and they differ in the purposes of their usage and spheres where you can apply them. Here, we will explain the goals of all four types of POA to make your choice about the form you need easier.

  • General Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney provides an opportunity for your agent to perform almost every operation connected with the estate, banks, business, and other processes. Make sure your agent is trustworthy and reliable because this POA type gives them unlimited rights to act on your behalf.

For instance, an agent will be able to make these actions for you:

  • Signing contracts
  • Transferring property or funds
  • Using bills and bank accounts

Usually, people resort to using the general power of attorney when they cannot represent themselves in one country because they are traveling or have mental or physical diseases. An agent can use a general power of attorney until set terms, incapacitation, or the principal’s death.

Power of Attorney Document Types and When to Use Them

  • Durable Power of Attorney

This form can be valid longer than others because an agent can use it even after the principal becomes incapacitated. Thus, it provides the same opportunities for agents as a general power of attorney, but it is not limited to any period. The only thing that can stop the validity of durable power of attorney is the principal’s death or a revocation form. However, the revocation form can be applied only if the principal is competent.

Besides, you can easily set the duration of a power of attorney based on your needs and make any other type of this form durable. It will not change the conditions and limitations about the given rights but will prolong the document’s validity period.

  • Limited Power of Attorney

While general power of attorney makes it possible for an agent to manage almost all operations on behalf of the principal, a limited one provides rights only for specified actions. For example, if you need someone to sign one contract for you or make a one bank transaction, you can write it in the limited power of attorney, and the agent will do it with this document. They will not have the right to do anything more than the operation written in the form.

Regarding the validity period of limited power of attorney, it expires right after finishing the operation determined in conditions of the form or after a moment you set in the document. By the way, you can find several reliable agents and trust them with different kinds of tasks providing distinct forms of this type.

  • Springing Power of Attorney

Springing power of attorney differs from previous ones by the conditions when it starts to be valid. You, as the principal, can enter a specific situation when an agent will start to control your processes, and the document will not work until this situation happens. For instance, you want to transfer your responsibilities for decision-making after becoming incapable of doing this or working as an officer abroad. In these cases, springing power of attorney is suitable for you as it will be valid only in these conditions. 

Choosing the type of power of attorney is an important step for everyone who wants to obtain it because it is always risky to provide full power over your finances to another person. When you allow an agent to act on your behalf only for particular goals, you should be more selective in using a power of attorney.

Requirements to Signing Power of Attorney

Some US states require notarization of a power of attorney to make it valid, while others accept signatures by two witnesses. Also, requirements about notarization and signing procedures depend on the type of form you want to obtain. That is why you should check the laws of your state and follow the procedure set in your area to make a power of attorney legal on the territory of the US.

More information about requirements to agents and the content of the form can be found here.


Power of attorney is a valuable document that allows you to manage private operations even if you are not present in the country or have a disease. It can simplify bureaucratic processes for those who cannot be there when signing a contract or similar things. 

Please pay attention to various POA types available to complete, as they will determine the scope of actions and duration when an agent will have the right to decide for you. 



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