Understanding Springing Powers of Attorney and California Estate Plans

As part of the process when creating an estate plan, you may find yourself considering whether to use a springing power of attorney. The concept of a power of attorney is familiar to many people. What few people realize, however, is that there are different types of powers of attorney, each which serves a specific purpose. A springing power of attorney is one such type.

What Is a Springing Power of Attorney?

A springing power of attorney is a form of power of attorney that only takes effect when certain conditions are met. A common condition contained within this type of power of attorney is the mental incapacity or disability of the person creating the document. An example of a time where a springing power of attorney may be useful is for military officers who are being deployed overseas. The springing power of attorney allows someone appointed in the document to manage the person’s financial affairs if they become incapacitated while they are abroad.

What Are the Differences Between a Springing Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney?

Springing powers of attorney only take effect when certain conditions are met. Durable powers of attorney, however, take effect immediately. The effectiveness of the instrument is not impacted depending on whether or not the person creating the document is cognizant or incapacitated.

What Has to Happen in Order for the Springing Power of Attorney to Take Effect?

As you create your estate planning documents, part of the conversation with your attorney will include the conditions that have to be met in order for the springing power of attorney to take effect. Many documents incorporate certain provisions that determine whether a condition, such as mental incapacity, has been met. Even if these provisions are not included in the document, California state law dictates the formal procedures for determining whether someone is incompetent or incapacitated.

Every family has its own unique needs when it comes to their estate planning. To learn more about how we have helped many of our other clients create the plans that work for them, we urge you to view our client testimonial page today.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm