In a person’s life, there may come a time when they become unable to handle their own matters themselves. It may be due to severe illness, accident leading to disability, Alzheimer’s, name it. Such events may render a person unable to make sensible decisions for themselves, control their bank accounts, carry out financial transactions, create and sign important documents, or make healthcare decisions. One may even have some important place to be such that they can’t run their business for a certain time. It becomes important that they appoint someone to handle their affairs on their behalf. With a document known as a power of attorney, one can achieve this.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows you to authorize a person or agent to handle your affairs and make decisions on your behalf when you are not able to do so yourself. There are typically two parties between whom the document binds, namely: the agent and the principal.
The principal: The principal is the person who creates the document and authorizes another party.
The agent: The agent is the party authorized to handle the affairs of the principal. Their limit of authority, that is, the areas to which your agent is allowed access, must be spelled out clearly in the wordings of the document. You may authorize them only to handle a business transaction, or make legal decision, or pay some bills, etc. Your agent may be an institution or individual and is officially called the attorney-in-fact. Despite the name, there is no requirement for the attorney-in-fact to be a legal professional.
As the principal, your agent will more or less step into your shoes and act as you. Depending on your instructions on the document, your agent may have access to your bank account, make financial transactions and even carry out estate planning on our behalf.
Sometimes, a third-party may be involved. The third-party could be your doctor, business, business partner, supplier or vendor with whom your attorney-in-fact would deal with on your behalf.
A POA is often used by people who wish to plan for incapacity when estate planning. However, Power of attorney for Florida is a bit different from that of other states. Power of attorney for Florida is typically used for handling financial transactions.
Types of Power of Attorney in Florida
Types of POA are based on the broadness of the authorization.
General Power of Attorney: This type of POA gives the attorney-in-fact a very broad scope of authority. When an agent receives a general POA, it means they have authority to handle virtually all issues bothering on both personal and fiscal affairs.
Limited Power of Attorney: The limited POA, as the name suggests, only authorizes the agent on a limited area of the principal’s affairs. According to the document, the agent may only be allowed to take actions on a particular transaction, contract, social media handle, or for a limited duration.
Durable Power of Attorney: a durable POA goes beyond disability or incapacity. Whether or not the principal is incapacitated, the agent has the authorization to act on their behalf as the wordings of the document instructs. It is revoked by the principal whenever they please.
Other types of POA
There are other types of POA
The Springing Power of Attorney is one which only “springs” into effect when the principal becomes disabled or unavailable at a later date from when the document was created. This type of POA was once accepted in Florida but not anymore. Due to the change in Florida statutes in 2011, Florida no longer accepts any POA which does not take effect on its date of creation.
Financial Power of Attorney: The laws of Florida are not exactly explicit on financial POA. As have been said, a typical POA in Florida basically handles fiscal matters.
Advance Healthcare Directives
Instead of creating a medical power of attorney in Florida, an advance healthcare directive is often created. This document, also known as a healthcare proxy, gives an agent authority to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal. A living will may also be included.
Get Help from a Local Attorney
Creating a proper POA document in Florida that addresses your wishes with clarity and precision without costly mistakes may require assistance from a Florida estate planning attorney. Get legal assistance from our estate planning attorneys by contacting our Florida based law office today.