What Is A Power Of Attorney?
Executing a Power of Attorney is an important step to protect your future. With a power of attorney, you can designate someone to act on your behalf, whether or not you are declared incapacitated. This important legal tool allows you to maintain control of your life while having a plan if you need someone to make decisions for you.
WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants an appointed agent the authority to act on behalf of someone else, known as the principal. The person you appoint becomes your agent, or attorney-in-fact. This may be used to give someone you trust the authority to handle your financial affairs, sign legal documentation, or buy and sell property.
DURABLE OR LIMITED POWER OF ATTORNEY:
A Power of Attorney is created while the individual still has the capacity and ability to make their own financial decisions. In Florida, there are several types of Power of Attorneys:
- Durable Power of Attorney: A Durable Power of Attorney gives a trusted individual the power to manage your legal and financial affairs as you age. This allows your agent to act immediately and begin assisting you in important life decisions. This authority continues even if you become incapacitated. The Durable Power of Attorney is effective from the date of the initial signing until revocation or at the time of your passing.
Under a Florida Durable Power of Attorney, some powers require special acknowledgement to be authorized, called “superpowers”. In certain situations, like that of amending or preparing trusts or creating or changing a right to survivorship, the principal must initial next to each enumeration of authority. This ensures you are aware of the rights granted to your agent. It is important to seek an estate planning attorney when deciding whether to grant these superpowers.
- Limited Power of Attorney: A Limited Power of Attorney gives your agent power for a specific purpose and time period. For example, a person may use a Limited Power of Attorney to sell property in another state by delegating authority to handle the transaction and sign legal documents. This type of document terminates once the task is complete, or the time period expires.
It is very important you grant this authority to someone you trust to protect your intentions and estate as you age. Additionally, you can grant this authority to more than one person, but co-agents are normally recommended to act independently. In Florida, an agent can be any person over 18 years of age. The Power of Attorney document must be signed by you and two witnesses, in the presence of a notary. An agent has a fiduciary duty to act only within the scope of power authorized by you in order to protect your best interest. A fiduciary duty is a legal responsibility that requires your agent to be loyal to your wishes and to put your best interests, first.
A Power of Attorney is important for anyone, regardless of your health status, family dynamic, or long-term goals. Creating a Power of Attorney creates peace of mind by ensuring your assets and intentions are protected. Our lawyers have a wide range of elder law knowledge that can be used to protect your estate and ensure you will be cared for throughout your later years. To discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional, contact SAMUELS WOOD PLLC at 561-864- 3371 today!