Immediate vs. “Springing” Financial Powers of Attorney (DFPAs)

What is an immediate Financial Power of Attorney?

An immediate power of attorney takes effect as soon as it's signed and any other formalities have been completed.

What is a "Springing" Financial Power of Attorney?

A springing POA is a legal document that doesn't take effect immediately but rather “springs" into action if you are declared unable to handle your financial affairs.

When can my agent(s) begin handling my affairs?

DFPAs created using FreeWill are effective immediately. That means your agent(s) can act on your behalf as soon as all signatures and any other formalities have been completed.

What if I don’t want my agent(s) to begin acting on my behalf until a certain date (or some other “trigger” event like my incapacity)?

Although your FreeWill DFPA is effective immediately, this does not necessarily mean that your agent can begin using their power right away.

Agents must follow the instructions of their principal. If you instruct your agent not to begin acting on your behalf until a certain date (or some other trigger event), then your agent is required to follow your instructions.

Can I use FreeWill to create a “Springing” Power of Attorney?

You cannot create such a POA using FreeWill’s platform. Not all states recognize springing POAs, and where they’re recognized, they can delay a transaction since they require your agent to obtain a determination from your doctor(s) that you’re unable to manage your finances. 

If you wish to create a springing POA, it is recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney in your state. FreeWill offers a number of resources you can consider for help locating a local attorney at the end of the will-making intake process, including the American Bar Association Attorney Locator, the ACTEC Fellow Search, and our FreeWill Fellows. 

Disclaimer: FreeWill is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. While FreeWill strives to ensure that its automated services are complete, they are meant purely as self-help forms. The materials and services are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney.

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