What you need to know about Florida’s Power of Attorney Requirements

At Akin Law, we understand that selecting an agent for your Power of Attorney requires a lot of trust that your wishes will be upheld. At Akin Law P.A. you are not just a client, we treat you like family. We work diligently to uphold your wishes as every client’s needs are special and individual.

A Power of Attorney is a written document that allows you to appoint a person or other agent to manage your affairs on your behalf. Powers that can be appointed to an attorney-in-fact may include handling financial and business transactions, operating business interest, settling claims, and much more.

The rules for giving and getting a Power of Attorney in Florida changed in October 2011, as the state’s Power of Attorney Act went into effect. The law requires that the principle must sign in front of two witnesses and a Notary Public. The notary can be one of the two witnesses.

Before you decide on a Power of Attorney, understand what your options are.

Types of Power of Attorney

  • Limited

This type of Power of Attorney gives someone else the power to act in your stead for a limited purpose. Examples of a limited Power of Attorney would be giving someone the right to sign a property deed for you if you are not able to or you are not available to do so yourself. This Power of Attorney would usually end at the time specified on the document.

  • General

A general Power of Attorney is comprehensive and gives your attorney-in-fact all the powers and rights that you have yourself. The general Power of Attorney may give your attorney-in-fact the right to sign documents for you, pay your bills, and conduct financial transactions for you. A general Power of Attorney ends on your death or your incapacitation, unless you rescind it beforehand.

  • Durable

A durable Power of Attorney can be limited or general in its practice but remains effective after you become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated and do not have a durable Power of Attorney in place, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian.

A durable Power of Attorney remains effective until your death unless you rescind it when you are not incapacitated.

  • Springing

Not recognized in the state of Florida after October 2011.

Under the new law, the Springing Power of Attorney is no longer available. Springing Power of Attorney’s signed before October 2011 do remain valid and can be deployed after October 2011, if the principle becomes incapacitated.

All new Power of Attorney will be immediately effective. Under the previous law, Power of Attorney came in two varieties, one that took effect immediately, and one that did not become effective until the principle became incapacitated.

  • What an agent needs to know

An agent is a fiduciary of the principle, and must act in good faith, preserve the principle’s estate plan, and shall not delegate authority to a third party.

Under the new law, multiple agents may act independently, and new Power of Attorney can be drafted to require unanimity or majority consent to act. The agents must keep records of all receipts, disbursements, and all transactions made on behalf of the principle.

If a Power of Attorney authorizes an agent to access a safe deposit box, the agent must show an inventory of the contents each time the agent accesses the box.

We understand the process of creating a legal document can be daunting, especially if the documents relate to matters of life or death. For example, the Power of Attorney for healthcare designates the person to make all the medical decisions for you in an emergency. If you have a living will, such documents cannot cover all circumstances.

The person who has a durable Power of Attorney for healthcare, is the person that will decide all matters that are not covered by such a healthcare directive. To retain an attorney for assistance with the important writing of a durable Power of Attorney is a good decision. An estate planning lawyer can simplify the process, and our attorney’s at Akin Law are specialists in Elder law involving guardianship, probate and estate administration, trusts, will and Power of Attorney. Let us help you, call today to schedule a consultation at 386-738-5599

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