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Can a Power of Attorney Expire?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 15, 2014

Power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows someone else to make legally binding decisions for you. These decisions could be financial, medical, or legal decisions that impact you or loved ones.

There are several different types of power of attorney. Springing power of attorney means there are conditions under which the power of attorney is put into action. They might be under certain medical conditions, or if you are no longer legally considered capable of making your own decisions. You could even stipulate that it goes into effect at a certain age; it’s up to you.

You can also make powers of attorney effective immediately upon signing.

Durable power of attorney (DPOA) means that the grant of authority is effective even if you become mentally unable to manage your financial affairs.

These documents do not expire unless you put in a termination date, revoke them in writing or you die. That means if the person for whom you are acting as POA dies and has no will, you no longer have the power to make those decisions, and they will fall upon the state to make for the individual. If there is a will, then upon death the executor would take over. If there is a trust, the successor trustee would handle it.

You can also have these documents revoked at any time and draw up new ones if you so choose and are still legally considered of sound mind. This might include changing the terms to address a new health issue or changing who can act as your POA. But if you never change anything and it’s decades old before anyone needs to use it, if properly executed, your POA will be valid for all legal matters until that person has passed away.

Over the past 22 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More