Florida Power of Attorney

Sometimes circumstances arise that require you to get help from others in managing your affairs after a loved one passes away.

This process can become additionally stressful and heart-wrenching as many of the legal processes must be initiated within 30 days of the person’s death.

Whether you’re planning your own estate after receiving a terminal diagnosis, or distributing a loved one’s estate when they did not have a legal Will in place – you might need someone to assume the Power of Attorney on your behalf.

There’s a wide range of scenarios where you may need help managing such affairs.

For example, an illness or injury can prevent you from having the capacity to make decisions on behalf of the estate. If this happens, it is important to be able to rely on someone to make decisions for you. This should be someone you trust to act on your behalf in order to manage your affairs appropriately, even when you are unable to do so.

In Florida, there are legal provisions that allow for this arrangement. We formally refer to this process as the Power of Attorney.

What is Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney is a way to grant your “power” to another individual when you are not present to do it yourself. Situations, where the Power of Attorney may come into play, include: when you need someone to sign paperwork, appear in court, or make important legal decisions on your behalf.

Most often, the power of attorney is thought of when an individual loses the capacity to think, act, or speak clearly. Incapacitation can result from an illness, an accident, or old age. In this situation, a family member or friend needs the ability to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual.

In general terms, Power of Attorney deals with financial transactions and related paperwork.

However, it can also be used to address a wide range of functions for the principal – or person that is unable to represent themselves.

Types of Power of Attorney in Florida

There are different types of power of attorney under Florida la. Each type grants different provisions of power.

Understanding these types of power of attorney can help a person determine the best course of action based on individual needs. The three primary types of power of attorney under Florida law are:

Limited power of attorney

This category focuses on a specific action or task, for a limited amount of time, or a specific type of action.

It does not cover a broad set of actions.

For example, someone may grant power of attorney in order to deal with matters related to the principal’s home. If the individual granted limited power of attorney tries to do business outside of that scope, it will not be permitted.

Limiting the power given can prevent the attorney-in-fact from overstepping any boundaries or navigating through undefined loopholes. However, in certain circumstances, this still allows the attorney-in-fact the power to take action when required. The only caveat here is that when the principal is, for example, dealing with a fatal disease – limiting the actions of a representative can backfire.

If an illness is rapidly advancing, it may be more beneficial to envoke another type of power of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

This is a broader power.

It typically grants power to an individual to conduct any type of financial transaction for the principal.

However, even a general power of attorney has parameters outlined in the documentation. This makes it is clear what the individual is and is not permitted to do under the power granted.

Durable Power of Attorney

This type of POA does not change with the principal’s capacity or incapacity.

However, in order to protect abuses from taking place, this type of power of attorney has strict requirements. A representative must meet these requirements in order to use Power of Attorney.

This is the most common type of power of attorney used in Florida. More particularly, many elders live in the state of Florida with an elderly spouse.

This means that both parties may not have support locally beyond their legal representation. When someone becomes incapacitated, they will often need to invoke the power of attorney with haste.

This type of power of attorney is beneficial because it creates stability in managing the affairs of the principal. Regardless of changes in the principal’s capacity, the attorney-in-fact will act on their behalf, as defined by Florida law.

In addition to these primary types of power of attorney, another form in Florida is springing power of attorney.

Under this type, the power of attorney only comes into effect if the principal becomes incapacitated.

The process of obtaining Power of Attorney

Since power of attorney grants powers to the attorney-in-fact, there are specific designations that make the document granting this power, legal.

Regardless of the type of power the principal desires to grant, the appropriate documentation must be drawn up.

This document outlines the type of power of attorney and the parameters set forth by those involved.

This must then be signed, witnessed, and notarized.

Typically, the power of attorney is effective once it has been signed. If the documentation provides a specific time frame, the power adheres to that time frame. Additionally, if the principal and attorney-in-fact are seeking springing power of attorney, the power will not take effect until the principal is incapacitated.

However, one of the requirements regards specific language. Thus, granting Durable Power of Attorney makes creating the documentation a challenging task.

Specific, legal language must be used. This is so that in the event the document is challenged, it can be used in court to address whatever problem arises.

It is for this reason that the courts recommend working with a qualified professional familiar with power of attorney documentation.

Qualified professionals can guide you to the best type of power of attorney for your needs.

They can also assist in writing the documentation so it effectively addresses every aspect required under Florida law.

If you would like more information about Power of Attorney in Florida, contact us today to set up a consultation. If you suspect Abuse of Power of Attorney, we can also help to settle your case with the decedent’s best interest in mind.