Crafting a Power of Attorney in Florida: Empowering Your Future with Legal Prudence

7 July 2023by Irina Prell0

In the realm of legal preparedness, crafting a Power of Attorney (POA) in Florida stands as a pivotal step towards safeguarding your financial, legal, and health-related decisions.

A POA is more than a document; it’s a proactive measure to ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes, even when you’re unable to do so yourself. This blog delves into the essence of POAs, their types, duties, requirements, and the process of termination, alongside a guide on selecting an agent to stand in your stead.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants one person (the agent) the authority to act on behalf of another person (the principal) in financial, legal, or health matters. The scope of this authority can be broad or limited, depending on the principal’s desires and the type of POA drafted.

Powers and Duties of an Agent

The agent’s powers can encompass a wide range of actions, including managing financial accounts, selling property, making healthcare decisions, and more. With this authority comes a duty of care, requiring the agent to act in the principal’s best interest, maintain accurate records, and avoid conflicts of interest.

Types of Power of Attorney in Florida

  • Durable Power of Attorney: Remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated, covering financial and legal decisions.
  • Health Care Surrogate Designation: A form of POA specifically for health care decisions, allowing the agent to make medical decisions if the principal is unable to do so.
  • Limited or Special Power of Attorney: Grants the agent authority to act in specific situations, such as selling a property.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: Becomes effective only upon the occurrence of a specified event, typically the principal’s incapacity.

Requirements in Florida

Florida law specifies certain requirements for a POA to be valid:

  • Written Document: The POA must be in writing and specify the powers granted to the agent.
  • Competent Principal: The person creating the POA must be mentally competent at the time of signing.
  • Signature and Witnesses: The POA must be signed by the principal and two witnesses.
  • Notarization: The document must be notarized to confirm the principal’s identity.

Who Can Serve as Agents

An agent should be someone trustworthy and capable of managing your affairs responsibly. In Florida, the agent must be a legal adult (18 years or older) or a financial institution with trust powers and a physical presence in the state. It’s crucial to choose someone who understands your values and is willing to take on the responsibilities involved.

Terminating a Power of Attorney

A POA can be terminated in several ways:

  • Revocation: The principal can revoke the POA at any time, provided they are competent. This revocation should be in writing and communicated to the agent and any third parties relying on the POA.
  • Expiration: If the POA is created for a specific time frame or purpose, it expires once the term ends or the purpose is fulfilled.
  • Death or Incapacity: A non-durable POA automatically terminates upon the principal’s death or incapacity, unless it’s a durable POA, which survives incapacity.

Establishing a Power of Attorney is a cornerstone of comprehensive estate planning. It ensures that your affairs will be managed according to your wishes, come what may. At Prell Spearing Law Firm, we specialize in tailoring POAs to fit your unique circumstances and needs, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Don’t wait for uncertainty to decide for you.

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Prell Spearing Law Firm is located in Downtown Naples & The Historic District of Fort Myers. We also service areas nearby including Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Bonita, Sanibel, and Sarasota. We can represent clients throughout the State of Florida