Understanding the Different Types of Power of Attorney
January 21, 2022


The future is unpredictable—you never know what could happen tomorrow or even in the next hour. Given the uncertainty that the future holds, it’s crucial to be prepared to fulfill your wishes so things go as planned.

When it comes to ensuring that things will be under control in case of unforeseen circumstances, you must have a designated agent who will act on your behalf. Through a power of attorney (POA), you can let your agent execute the necessary actions and make critical decisions for you.  Your lawyer will assist you in deciding who is the best person to be your agent.  Often it is a family member(s) but in some limited circumstances your lawyer may be an option

It’s crucial to have the correct type of POA. Depending on your circumstances, you may need one of these types of power of attorney’s listed below.  Keep in mind that you can name different agents for different types of POAs.

What are the 6 Types of Power of Attorney?

1.   Durable Power of Attorney

This is the most common type of POA—it gives your agent the power to make decisions relative to some issues if you are incapacitated. It also empowers your agent to act on your behalf in legal matters and other vital matters during a time when you can’t be present.

A durable POA is different from  a non-durable POA because it remains in effect even if you become incapacitated after signing it.  It only ceases when:

  • You die;
  • You revoke it; or
  • Your agent resigns.

Time is essential when it comes to a durable POA. You must act as soon as possible and make sure that you include all of the details and things that you need your agent to do for you when you cannot be present.

In Pennsylvania, all Powers of Attorney are durable unless you specify otherwise.

2.   Non-Durable Power of Attorney

This type of POA is very limited because it only remains in effect as long as you can make decisions on your own.  It is rarely used because it expires just when you may really need it – upon incapacity.

3.   Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is vital as it allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions for you.  Your agent can agree to treatment and discontinue treatment.  They will have access to your medical records so they can assist in all medical decision-making situations.

4.   General Power of Attorney

A general POA is the most flexible type, and it lets your agent act on your behalf on any matter that is not covered by a specific POA. If a POA has not been drafted for particular situations, a general POA will come into play.  A General Power of Attorney can contain both financial and medical decision powers for the agent.

For a better chance at having your interests protected, you should use a general POA to cover all matters that you may come across. This will give you peace of mind.

5.   Limited Power of Attorney

The limited power of attorney (LPA) is the most specific form of power of attorney, and it can be used to effectuate specific acts on your behalf. This document needs to be written carefully to ensure that the authorized agent has only the power and authority you want them to have.  This is commonly used to designate an agent to handle a specific real estate transaction or to act with regard to a specific business.

6.   Springing Power of Attorney

In a springing POA, the principal authorizes an agent to act on their behalf if a given situation happens. In other words, the grantor gives their agent the power to make decisions for them according to what the principal wants.  Commonly, a springing power of attorney becomes operational when the principal becomes incapacitated.  These are not very common because the health care privacy rules make it difficult to establish incapacity.

Work With an Estate Attorney in Pennsylvania

People change, and sometimes, they cannot make decisions on their own anymore. With the help of a power of attorney, you can rest assured that your wishes will be carried out. You can be confident that your agent will do everything for you according to your instructions.

If you need a legal expert to help you with your estate, work with us at DaleyZucker. With one of the best estate attorneys in Pennsylvania, we offer a team approach combining years of experience to achieve the best resolution for our clients. Contact us today to learn more.




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