Different Types of Power of Attorney

Although power of attorney is essentially handing control of your affairs over to another person, there are different uses of the position which vary depending on the situation. These largely depend on the reason behind power of attorney being transferred from the ‘principal’, the individual who wishes to relinquish control of their affairs, and the ‘attorney-at-fact’, the person who takes control of the principal’s business and legal dealings.

Non-Durable POA
Non-durable power of attorney is used for short-term transactions, which for whatever reason the principal cannot handle themselves. Any such power of attorney that is non-durable has an expiration, primarily when the principal becomes incapacitated for some reason and is no longer able to give permission for the power of attorney to continue, nor can they revoke it. Usually, non durable power of attorney is limited to a specific time frame, in which any particular deal that is needed to be completed is given time to be dealt with. When this particular instance is complete, power returns to the principal.

Non-durable POA is effective immediately.

Durable POA
This type of power of attorney is similar to non-durable power of attorney, only it continues in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally ill. All powers of attorney come to an end when the principal dies, but durable power of attorney continues right up to that point. Power of attorney that is durable is often used in terminally ill cases, where the principal asks their attorney-at-fact to allow any lifesaving equipment to be removed or authorize a Do Not Resuscitate

Durable POA is effective immediately.

Springing POA
Springing power of attorney is used in cases where the principal cannot actively give permission, either verbally or in writing, for someone to act as their attorney-at-fact. To obtain springing power of attorney, a doctor must certify that the principal is incapable of thinking for themselves and an attorney-in-fact is required. Springing power of attorney is used predominantly in cases of sudden deterioration of health, such as deterioration of a mental illness or a serious accident.

These are the three main types of power of attorney, governing time and how the power is assigned. However, power of attorney does not have to be granted for all of the principal’s affairs – it can sometimes only apply to one aspect, such as financial. The differences are as follows:

Special or Limited POA
Predominantly used with non-durable power of attorney, special or limited power of attorney is used for specific cases. It often just applies to financial dealings or a specific property sale, and though an attorney-in-fact is appointed, they have no control over any aspect of the principal’s life apart from the sector they are charged with.

Any other type of POA is called General Attorney, which applies to all affairs and dealings of the principal.

Health Care POA
This is a specific power of attorney that is used for those who are terminally or mentally ill, and gives the attorney-in-fact power over medical decisions but nothing more. It is similar to special attorney, though is specifically used for medicinal purposes.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

Find an Attorney Using These Three Tips

If you need to find an attorney, then you need to read this article first in order to avoid making a costly mistake. You need to learn where to get an attorney referral as well as attorney advertising to avoid. 

A competent attorney is going to provide a certain level of client service and will discuss payment arrangements in advance. Before you visit that attorney you saw on television or in the phone book, you should take a minute to arm yourself with information that could potentially save your thousands of dollars.

Find An Attorney With A Referral From A Friend

Most clients do not know where to begin to look for an attorney. So, they contact the attorney with the most outrageous television commercials or the biggest yellow ad. This is often a mistake. 

Instead, you should get a referral from a friend that has used an attorney for the type of legal issues that you face. You can also contact your family accountant, banker or even pastor to find an attorney you can trust. In every case, follow up on your referral by checking the attorney out on the internet. There are a number of lawyer rating services available online. But it doe not stop there. You also need to review the attorney’s commitment to client service.

Evaluate Your Attorney’s Commitment To Service

Most clients become dissatisfied with their attorney because the attorney fails to treat them with the respect that a paying client deserves. Specifically, the single biggest complaint is that the attorney fails to keep his client abreast of the status of the case. A competent and professional attorney will return phone calls and provide regular status reports in writing to his client. 

In addition, a good attorney will be able to gather evidence, reports, medical records and witness statements in a timely and efficient manner. Once you understand what to expect in terms of client service, you can begin to think about how you are going to compensate your attorney for services rendered.

Discuss Attorney’s Fees Early On

The most important question that clients have when they try to find a lawyer is how they are going to pay for his services. This issue should be discussed very early in the attorney selection process. Depending on the type of case, the lawyer can charge a flat fee for simple matters, an hourly rate for other services. 

Personal injury clients will likely be offered a contingency fee (or modified contingency fee) arrangement whereby no money will be required up front. Regardless of the type of fee arrangement, the fee contract should be in writing and signed by both parties. 

Conduct Your Attorney Search With Confidence

Now that you know more about how to find an attorney, you can do so with confidence. Find a lawyer by way of referrals from trusted friends or professionals, not television or telephone advertisements. Demand that you attorney give you superior service and respect. Lastly, discuss your attorney fees early and get the agreement in writing. So, keep these key points in mind when you go out there and find an attorney that will serve you well.

Finding an Attorney – Know Some Basics

At some point in life, just about everybody is going to need an attorney for something. It may be as mundane as signing finance documents to close on the purchase of a home or writing a simple will to issues as serious as accident liability or criminal defense. Whatever the situation, it is important to have wise and competent counsel. The problem is, most of us don’t need the services of an attorney very often, may not know one, or know how to go about finding an attorney that’s right for you. Like most things in life, the more you know and the more you are prepared the better. Selecting an attorney is no different. Let’s start at the beginning and work through the process.

It may sound simple, but the starting point should be to define if and why you need an attorney. There are times when not having one, or putting off contacting one, can actually make things worse. Don’t fall for ads claiming you can write your own will, handle your own divorce or set up your own Limited Liability Company (LLC). It may be possible to so with some of the packages that are offered, but what you don’t get is important legal counsel to advise you of any legal vulnerabilities, how to be sure your rights are being protected or whether those documents will stand up if challenged in court. There’s some truth to the old axiom, “A person who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.”

Once you’ve defined why you need an attorney, decide what type of attorney you need. Some attorneys are “general practitioners” while others are specialists in one particular area of law. If you are going to be involved in a personal injury case or a divorce, it may be wise to seek out an attorney who has experience specializing in that area.

Finding the right attorney is going to take a bit of work on your part. You can always start by checking the Yellow Pages or web sites, but the most effective means is to ask people you know or professionals in your community for referrals. You can also check with the state bar for a list of attorneys in your area as well as consult a legal referral service. Whatever you do or however you begin your search, you must do your due diligence. The more you know, the more satisfying the results of your search.

When you’ve narrowed your list of potential attorneys, the next step is to begin contacting them. That contact may be made by phone, or by scheduling a meeting, and many attorneys don’t charge for a “first consultation.” However, before scheduling such a meeting, be sure you understand whether there will be any fee involved. Through the process of choosing an attorney, remember that you are the consumer purchasing their services. Don’t be shy about asking questions. It’s always best to be a smart consumer.

During your search and consultation meetings, be prepared and specific about your expectations. If there are any documents that pertain to the situation you will be discussing, have them with you should they be needed for reference or verification of information. It is also a good time to talk about the attorney’s fees. Depending on the case, fees may differ. Some examples are:

Hourly: Many attorneys base their fees on an hourly rate. This can vary significantly depending on the experience of the attorney and the size of the law firm.

Flat Fee: Some cases may be charged a flat fee. For example, a simple divorce, bankruptcy or basic will may be handled for a set amount with any additional charges added like mileage or court fees.

Retainer: There may be times when an attorney asks for a certain amount up front to work as an account to draw against as the case progresses. In other instances, like for a business, an attorney may be retained on a continuing basis for an agreed upon fee.

Contingency: In this case, the attorney receives a percentage of the judgment as the fee. This is most common in personal injury and liability cases. The fee is paid once the court has set the judgment. If the judgment does not go in your favor, there is no fee.

Be sure you understand and agree to the fee schedule before signing an agreement with an attorney.

The last step in choosing an attorney is interviewing, checking credentials and references. When you hire an attorney, think of it as hiring an employee. In many ways, that’s what they are. They are working for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about other cases they have had that are similar to yours and what was involved in the case. You need to know what the attorney’s previous experience is. He or she may have been practicing law for twenty years, but they may not have extensive experience with cases like yours.

Ask for references. A reputable attorney will not have a problem with this as long as giving you such information does not breech any attorney/client privilege. It may not be out of order to ask what the attorney’s success rate is. In some instances it may help give you an impression of their skill or complexity of the cases they handle. Ask what percent of the cases handled by their firm is normally devoted to cases like yours.

Be prepared to answer personal questions that may be relevant to your case such as information regarding your finances, marital status, lifestyle or criminal record. Should you be asked such questions, be truthful. Your attorney cannot be effective if you don’t tell them the truth, even if it’s embarrassing or you think it may hurt your case.

There can be a great deal involved in working with an attorney when you need one. It is important to find one you feel comfortable with and trust. Taking the steps discussed above is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you may need to do to select an attorney that is just right for you, but it will give you a good start.

Remember to be proactive, do your due diligence in your search and don’t be afraid to compare and ask questions. Choosing the right attorney is a big decision, but one that you can make with confidence when you have done your research and come prepared.