Different Types of Power of Attorney

Although power of attorney is essentially handing control of your affairs over to another person, there are different uses of the position which vary depending on the situation. These largely depend on the reason behind power of attorney being transferred from the ‘principal’, the individual who wishes to relinquish control of their affairs, and the ‘attorney-at-fact’, the person who takes control of the principal’s business and legal dealings.

Non-Durable POA
Non-durable power of attorney is used for short-term transactions, which for whatever reason the principal cannot handle themselves. Any such power of attorney that is non-durable has an expiration, primarily when the principal becomes incapacitated for some reason and is no longer able to give permission for the power of attorney to continue, nor can they revoke it. Usually, non durable power of attorney is limited to a specific time frame, in which any particular deal that is needed to be completed is given time to be dealt with. When this particular instance is complete, power returns to the principal.

Non-durable POA is effective immediately.

Durable POA
This type of power of attorney is similar to non-durable power of attorney, only it continues in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally ill. All powers of attorney come to an end when the principal dies, but durable power of attorney continues right up to that point. Power of attorney that is durable is often used in terminally ill cases, where the principal asks their attorney-at-fact to allow any lifesaving equipment to be removed or authorize a Do Not Resuscitate

Durable POA is effective immediately.

Springing POA
Springing power of attorney is used in cases where the principal cannot actively give permission, either verbally or in writing, for someone to act as their attorney-at-fact. To obtain springing power of attorney, a doctor must certify that the principal is incapable of thinking for themselves and an attorney-in-fact is required. Springing power of attorney is used predominantly in cases of sudden deterioration of health, such as deterioration of a mental illness or a serious accident.

These are the three main types of power of attorney, governing time and how the power is assigned. However, power of attorney does not have to be granted for all of the principal’s affairs – it can sometimes only apply to one aspect, such as financial. The differences are as follows:

Special or Limited POA
Predominantly used with non-durable power of attorney, special or limited power of attorney is used for specific cases. It often just applies to financial dealings or a specific property sale, and though an attorney-in-fact is appointed, they have no control over any aspect of the principal’s life apart from the sector they are charged with.

Any other type of POA is called General Attorney, which applies to all affairs and dealings of the principal.

Health Care POA
This is a specific power of attorney that is used for those who are terminally or mentally ill, and gives the attorney-in-fact power over medical decisions but nothing more. It is similar to special attorney, though is specifically used for medicinal purposes.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

What You Must Know About Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney

Before consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, it will be helpful to know that there are four main types of bankruptcy: Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13. Only two, chapters 7 and 13 are personal bankruptcy options. The remaining two forms of bankruptcy, chapters 11 and 12 and for corporations and agricultural purposes respectively.

The first step you will want to take when choosing a bankruptcy attorney in the Kansas City area is finding out the practice areas of your attorney. Some attorneys practice specifically in bankruptcy related matters. Other attorneys have a more general practice where they may cover several practice areas with bankruptcy being one of many.

Other attorneys may have a general practice but they want to try bankruptcy out because of the recent developments in the economy. If this is the case and the attorney is a solo-practitioner, you will want to make sure that you ask if the attorney has a reference source by which he or she is able to get help concerning the things he or she may not know. The practice of bankruptcy law is extremely intricate and sometimes the slightest mistake can be the difference between whether the debtor receives a discharge or a dismissed case.

The next thing a potential debtor will want to know is which type of bankruptcy law the attorney practices. Again, there are some attorneys who concentrate specifically on chapter 7 bankruptcy work. Those attorneys may choose to concentrate on chapter 7 work because it is less complicated than the chapter 13 work. Generally, chapter 7 debtors will not have substantial assets and they are procedurally less tenuous than a chapter 13. This does not mean that there are Kansas City Bankruptcy attorneys, who concentrate on Chapter 7 bankruptcy law, who take chapter 13 cases.

Another valuable piece of information that a potential bankruptcy debtor will want to discover is whether the attorney will appear with the debtor at the meeting of creditors. Once the paper work has been completed and the documents have been filed with the Bankruptcy Court, the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri will schedule what is called a 341 meeting.

This meeting is also referred to as “The First Meeting of Creditors.” It will be the first opportunity for the debtor to meet with the bankruptcy trustee and to confront any creditors who may want to prevent the bankruptcy from occurring. The attorney may not be privy to anyone wanting to challenge the discharge of the debtor before the meeting of creditors.

If the debtor’s attorney is not able to appear at the meeting of creditors, a replacement attorney will need to be selected. The debtor not having an attorney is generally not a good idea because the trustee may want certain documents sent to the trustee’s office within a short period of time or the trustee may have more specific questions that the debtor may not be able to answer.

If this were to happen, the debtor would need an attorney there who has a copy of the bankruptcy petition. Generally when a debtor attempts to conduct a meeting of creditors without the presence of an attorney, the debtor will not have all the information to adequately satisfy the inquiries of the trustee.

The next thing that a potential debtor will want to know when potentially choosing a Kansas City bankruptcy attorney is what is included in the attorney fee. This may vary from attorney to attorney. Generally, the attorney fee will be a flat fee that will include the bankruptcy petition filing fee. Currently, this fee is $300. However, the list of attorney duties could vary. Some attorneys will cover everything from start to finish with the fee that is paid.

Other attorneys may charge an additional fee if the petition has to be amended or if the trustee requires meetings outside of the meeting of creditors. Generally these fees will be covered in the contract for legal representation. If they are not, the potential debtor will want to discuss these issues with the potential Kansas City bankruptcy attorney.

These are a few things that a potential debtor will want to investigate when choosing a Kansas City bankruptcy attorney. The choice of an attorney is an important one and it should not be based solely on advertisement alone.

Stand-In Attorneys Don’t Hold Water in Some Courts

Today with the increased bankruptcy filings throughout the Nation, attorneys are changing the way the run their practices. The model that is being developed does not sit well with many including the courts.

When a client comes in and meets with an attorney and then signs a representation agreement, that may be the last time, the file or that attorney even touches the file. Clients need to be sure to question the attorney to be sure that the attorney is doing more than meeting and turning over the file to an associate or paralegal. It is also key to ask whether that attorney will appear with you in Court matters, e.g. Meeting of Creditors.

The Courts have noted that they do not approve of this “model” of attorneys office practices.

In a recent opinion by Judge Jeff Bohn (Consumer Bankruptcy News – Volume 23, Issue 19) he stated:

“The use of appearance attorneys deprives clients… Such a practice is insulting to the client, the Court, and the principles upon which the judicial system is built. Attorneys are not fungible. Attorneys are not all equal to each other, either in their courtroom abilities, their understanding of the law, or in their communicative skills.”

Clients choose a firm and an attorney for a reason, and clients have a right to be represented by the attorney of their choice during all portions of their case.

The justification for certain consumer bankruptcy attorneys that their business model will not work unless they are allowed to use appearance attorneys HOLDS NO WATER with this Court. If a firm’s business model conflicts with the professional standards of the legal profession, the former must give way to the latter.”

Be sure to ask when you interview or have your first meeting with an attorney, who will be handling my case?

  • An assistant,
  • Another attorney,
  • Appearance attorney???

When an attorney takes a case, they should initially meet with the client to understand and become familiar with the client’s needs. After that time, a Representation Agreement is agreed upon and signed.

As for Bankruptcies, there are many important deadlines and criteria to meet to finalize what type of bankruptcy is right for the client. During this time, a learning period begins for the attorney where he/she becomes very familiar with the case and interacts closely with the clients.

As the information and data are collected from the client, the attorney is able to fully understand not only the client but also the details of the case. Most of the time, there is a great deal of interaction between the client and the attorney. Much is learned about the client’s financial situation, spending habits, debts, how the debts occurred and the household income, etc.

At the 341(a) Meeting of Creditor’s is scheduled, the attorney presents his client to the Trustee and is there to assist and explain the petition that was put together for the client.

If an attorney who worked on the case does not come to Meeting of Creditors but sends an alternate attorney, how can that alternate attorney/stand-in attorney provide the proper representation and support to that client?

I don’t recommend having someone stand-in for an attorney when dealing with bankruptcy cases. Do you?