A Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) is a legal document that grants someone (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") specific, limited authority to act on behalf of another person (the "principal"). This authority is restricted to certain actions, situations, or time periods, as detailed in the document. The limited nature of this power distinguishes it from a General Power of Attorney, which grants broad powers to the agent.
Specific Transactions: A principal might grant an agent the power to handle only certain transactions, like selling a particular piece of real estate, managing specific financial accounts, or completing a car purchase.
Limited Time Period: An LPOA might be valid only for a specific time frame, such as during a principal's extended vacation or business trip.
Incapacitation Conditions: Some LPOAs become effective only when the principal is incapacitated, although many of these are structured as "springing" powers of attorney.
Revocability: Like other powers of attorney, unless otherwise stated, an LPOA is revocable. This means that the principal can revoke or terminate the LPOA as long as they're mentally competent.
Termination: A Limited Power of Attorney typically terminates when the specified action is completed, when the specified time period expires, if the principal becomes incapacitated (unless it's structured differently), or upon the death of the principal.
Written and Signed: To be valid, an LPOA usually needs to be in writing and signed by the principal. Depending on the jurisdiction, it might also need to be witnessed, notarized, or both.
Specific Language: The document should clearly define and detail the specific powers granted to ensure there's no ambiguity about the agent's authority.
People often use Limited Powers of Attorney when they need someone else to handle specific tasks or responsibilities for them but want to retain control over other aspects of their affairs. Because this is a legal instrument with potential implications, it's crucial to consult with an attorney when creating or signing an LPOA to ensure that it meets legal requirements and accurately reflects the principal's intentions.