Power of Attorney in the State of Florida
f you are worried about becoming incapacitated, unable to make decisions for yourself, or even just unable to be physically present at important events, one of the legal options you may consider is Power of Attorney.
What is Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document that if properly written and signed allows someone else to act on your behalf. There are several different kinds of powers of attorney, depending on the particular situation you wish to address. The person granting power to someone else is known as the “Principal”. The person to whom you are giving power is referred to as either your “Agent” or “Attorney in Fact.”
How does Power of Attorney work?
A Power of Attorney allows the person you name to act on your behalf as you define in the document. The power of attorney also defines limits to this person’s authority.
As a planning technique a Power of Attorney used together with a related set of planning documents may be deemed by a Court to be a Less Restrictive Alternative to a Court supervised Guardianship.
A Power of Attorney may also be revoked at any time by the Principal if proper procedure is followed.
Upon the death of the Person who made the Power of Attorney, it terminates.
Who can be your agent?
The Agent must be an adult over 18 years of age. It is common to choose a family member such as a spouse or child, or some other trusted person like a friend or lawyer. Multiple agents required to act jointly or permitted to act independently, or a financial institution may also be appointed.
You may also name successor agents who would become the Agent if your original choice is no longer willing or able to fill this role.
Types of Powers of Attorney
In Florida, there are two types of Power of Attorney: Durable and Non-Durable. A Power of Attorney which is non-durable is no longer valid once the Principal becomes incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney, drafted properly, remains valid after the Principal becomes incapacitated.
Additionally, either type of Power of Attorney may be either general or limited. A General Power of Attorney will give the agent the broad authority to perform any legal act on behalf of the Principal, A Limited Power of Attorney can be drafted to permit the Agent to act on the Principal’s behalf in only very specific circumstances. For example, such as selling your vacation home or other real property in another State.