What is a Limited Power of Attorney?

Many think a Power of Attorney means giving someone control forever, but that’s not always true.

So what is a limited power of attorney? A limited POA is usually given for a  short time or in specific situations, like giving someone power for a little while.

This article will talk about a Limited Power of Attorney, explaining what it is and why it can be useful.

An Image Showing a Limited Power of Attorney Document
A Limited Power of Attorney Document. Photo Source (Freepik)

What is a Limited Power of Attorney?

A Limited Power of Attorney, also known as a Specific or Special Power of Attorney, lets the person holding it act on behalf of someone else for a specific time, purpose, or document.

This type of Power of Attorney is useful in various situations:

  • If you’re away for a long time, traveling, or living somewhere else.
  • If you need to buy or sell property in another state or country but can’t be there yourself.
  • If you get sick and need someone to handle a business transaction for you.

Once the situation or purpose is done, the person who gave the Power of Attorney (the principal) can cancel it, and the agent is no longer allowed to act for them.

The Limited Power of Attorney is also automatically canceled when the principal passes away.

Considerations of a Limited POA

  1. Timeframe A Limited POA gives someone temporary permission to make specific legal decisions for a set period. For example, if parents are away for a long time, they might let someone make medical choices for their kids. Once the authorized time is over, the Limited Power of Attorney is no longer valid.
  2. Scope A Limited Power of Attorney can let someone act for another person in a specific area or situation. For instance, an investment advisor might be given the power to handle investment deals. But it doesn’t let them act for anything else.
  3. Document A Limited Power of Attorney allows someone to sign a legal paper for a particular deal. For example, it could let a real estate agent handle a property closing for someone who is far away. But the agent can’t sign any other papers not mentioned in the Power of Attorney.

A Limited Power of Attorney is a serious legal document that gives decision-making power to someone else.

While there are forms online, it’s smart to talk to a Power of Attorney lawyer in your state to be sure you’re fully protected when letting someone make legal choices for you.

Types of Limited POA

There are different types of limited power of attorney that might be used for special situations:

  1. Springing Powers:
    • A Limited POA with springing powers only becomes active if a specific event happens, usually the death or incapacity of the account owner.
    • It’s often used with a will or a family living trust.
  2. Durable and Non-Durable:
    • Durable Limited Powers of Attorney give someone ongoing authority to do certain things even if the person who gave the power dies or becomes unable to make decisions.
    • Most Limited Powers of Attorney are non-durable, meaning they stop being valid when the person who gave the power dies or becomes unable to make decisions.

What Can a Limited POA Do?

A Limited or Special POA can represent the person granting it, known as the Principal, in specific situations like financial transactions, business matters, healthcare, and more.

Depending on the permissions given, an agent can:

  1. Supervise and sign real estate deals.
  2. Manage financial or business affairs when you’re away or not accessible.
  3. Take charge of your finances if you become unable to make decisions.
  4. Sign contracts on your behalf.
  5. Handle investment matters.
An Image of a Limited POA
How to Set Up a Limited POA

Why Would You Set Up a Limited POA?

Setting up a Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) is a smart move for various reasons.

It prepares you for unexpected situations, like sudden incapacity, and provides an extra layer of protection for times when you’re unavailable.

A trusted person, such as an Investment Advisor, can be appointed as your Agent, with legal authority to manage investments.

The flexibility of a Limited POA allows you to set a specific time limit, making it perfect for short-term needs, like when you’re out of the country for a month.

What is the Difference Between Power of Attorney and Limited POA?

Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) is distinct from the common types like regular POA or Financial POA.

LPOA allows for more specific restrictions and provisions, making it a valuable tool for defined situations where broader authority might be excessive.

How Long is a Limited POA Good For?

A Limited Power of Attorney stays effective only for the duration you set.

Unlike a General POA that lasts until revoked or the person passes away, Limited POAs are meant to be valid for a specified time.

You can choose a date for it to end, and it will only be active until then.

How Do I Set Up?

Creating a Limited Power of Attorney is straightforward.

You outline the powers of your Agent and set an expiration date, tailoring it to your specific needs.

To ensure its legality, sign and date the LPOA with a witness or notary present, depending on your state’s requirements.

If you’re considering Power of Attorney for someone you care about, here are the steps:

  1. Check your state law.
  2. Decide the type of POA needed.
  3. Use the correct POA form.
  4. Have an open discussion with the Principal.
  5. Determine the powers to be granted.
  6. Notarize the POA if necessary.
  7. Provide a legal copy to everyone involved.

Limited POAs enhance the protection of an Estate Plan, covering unforeseen events and assisting in planning for times when extra support is needed.


Understanding Limited POA (LPOA) is vital.

It’s not a forever commitment but a flexible, time-bound solution for specific needs.

LPOA provides tailored permissions, making it useful for short-term situations like managing finances or health temporarily.

The article emphasizes legal compliance, including signatures and notarization for validity.

Various LPOA types, like those with springing powers or durable/non-durable distinctions, offer options for specific scenarios.

Setting up LPOA involves clear communication, determining powers, and legal compliance.

Consulting a Power of Attorney lawyer ensures comprehensive protection when delegating decision-making authority.

In summary, LPOA is a valuable, flexible tool offering protection and support for various situations, providing peace of mind without a long-term commitment.