Most New Jersey residents probably know what having a power of attorney means. A power of attorney is a document you can draft as part of your overall estate plan that allows you to select someone to make major medical, financial or business decisions for you if you cannot.
However, you may not be familiar with the term “springing power of attorney.” A springing power of attorney is the same thing as a power of attorney, except that it has no legal power unless or until certain conditions, that you decide upon, are met.
What makes a springing power of attorney different
A springing power of attorney is unlike a regular power of attorney, which takes effect on a specific date or only at certain times. It is also different than a durable power of attorney, which has no conditions placed on it, and therefore begins immediately.
A benefit to a springing power of attorney is that you can choose exactly when the document springs into action. For example, if you break your leg and are unable to leave the hospital, you likely do not need someone else making decisions for you, since you are still mentally capable of doing so.
However, one of your conditions could be you falling into a coma. If you do, your springing power of attorney would go into effect. When or if you wake up from the coma, the condition ends, as would the springing power of attorney.
Common types of springing powers of attorney
The most common types of conditions in a springing power of attorney are related to medical and financial needs. As in the example above, conditions typically involve a situation in which a medical condition or mental state prevents you from making certain decisions.
Your springing power of attorney could cover financial situations, such as if you are planning to be abroad for an extended period and need someone to take care of your finances back at home.
A springing power of attorney is often an important piece of an estate plan.