What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney?


Both powers of attorneys are legal documents where you appoint an individual to act as your agent for financial matters. Both documents give the agent very broad financial powers, but can be more limited if you decide to limit the agent's powers. 

In the case of a non-durable power of attorney, the agent is generally authorized to act once you sign the document, but the agent's authority ceases when and if you become incapacitated. 

In the case of a durable power of attorney, the agent is generally authorized to act once you sign the document and can continue to act when and if you become incapacitated. The term "durable" refers to the document surviving the your incapacity. By default, all powers of attorney executed after October 1, 2016 are durable.

To make a power of attorney more useful, estate planning attorneys often add provisions regarding specific situations or transactions that might occur in the future, including the authority, when appropriate, to make gifts. 

A POA can also be general or specific.

Related information:

What is a Power of Attorney and Who Should You Choose?

Estate Planning and Disgruntled Heirs: Ways to Avoid the Fight