Delaware residents interested in signing powers of attorney often ask how long the documents maintain their validity. Not all powers of attorney are the same, so the first thing to be determined is what kind of power of attorney appeals to the interested party.

A durable power of attorney is a well-known document in estate planning circles. This document provides the attorney-in-fact with the authority to perform nearly every legal and financial function the document principle would perform if capable. A durable power of attorney is for life unless a specified expiration date exists with the document, the principal provides a written revocation or an event occurs that mandates legal termination.

A limited power of attorney restricts the authority given to the attorney-in-fact to specific actions. The document can allow a designated individual to complete a single action like adding a signature to a document or signing a medical release for children. This type of limited power of attorney expires once the action detailed in the document is completed. It is also common for individuals to appoint limited powers of attorney authority to someone for a specific time. This authority ends once the designated expiration date passes.

All powers of attorney agreements terminate upon revocation. Revocations must be written and include a signature from the principle. All financial institutions and business entities with whom the principle does business should receive a copy of the revocation.

If the attorney-in-fact dies or is no longer able to perform needed duties, the power of attorney agreement terminates. No replacement attorney-in-fact is named when this happens, so a principal should identify a new attorney-in-fact before the current one is unavailable whenever possible to do so.

Selecting a trustworthy person to act on behalf of another individual when they are unable to do so themselves is an important task. Individuals with questions regarding powers of attorney or those who need help drafting a document may have their questions answered by speaking with an attorney.