How To Get Power of Attorney in Florida

How To Get Power of Attorney in Florida

Susan R.  Miller
 | 

The COVID-19 pandemic has many people thinking about their future and what could happen if they become ill.

As a result, many are considering what legal documents they should have at the ready.

 

One of those documents is called a power of attorney or POA. It is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf. That power can be broad, or it can be specific. While the POA generally is used in Florida for financial transactions (i.e. access to a bank account, bill payment, the sale of property, etc.) under Fla. State. §765.101, et. seq it also can be used to make healthcare decisions for someone who may not be able to make them.

 

While a will or trust comes into play after a person’s death, a power of attorney is an estate planning document that is relevant during a person’s life. It is an important tool that can save you a lot of headaches.

 

In Florida, the power of attorney is controlled by Part II of Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes.

 

There are different types of powers of attorney in Florida: general power of attorney, limited or special power of attorney and durable power of attorney.

 

General power of attorney:
These are more commonly used to handle financial transactions and gives your agent (the person making decisions for you) broad authority to do things such as sell property, pay bills, enter into contracts, etc. If you have an elderly parent who may not be incapacitated, but needs assistance handling some matters (i.e. speaking with a government agency such as Medicare, a bank, or preparing taxes) a power of attorney allows you to do so on their behalf.

 

This type of power of attorney ends if the person dies or becomes incapacitated. It also can end on a specific date stated in the document.

 

Limited or special power of attorney:
As the name suggests, this document gives your agent the authority to handle matters for a specific purpose and for a limited time. For example, you may own a piece of property in another state that you want to sell, but you don’t want to travel to that state to do so. You can give someone power of attorney to handle that particular sale on your behalf, but nothing else.

 

Durable power of attorney:
This type of power of attorney remains in effect even if someone becomes incapacitated due to illness or an accident. It can help you plan ahead for emergencies. While many people consider these for their aging parents, it also can be used by parents of children over the age of 18 to manage bank accounts, pay bills, apply for government benefits. It’s important to note that you can revoke that power at any time and for any reason.

 

To create a power of attorney in Florida you must have capacity. In other words, you must be mentally competent at the time of the signing and understand what effects the document may have.

 

According to Section 709.2105 of Florida statutes, to ensure it is legal, a power of attorney must be signed by the principal and by two witnesses to the principal’s signature. A notary must acknowledge the principal’s signature for the power of attorney to be properly executed and valid under Florida law.

 

The person who is designated as your agent must be at least 18 years old or a financial institution that has trust powers, has a place of business in this state, and is authorized to conduct trust business in this state.

 

The agent must act in good faith and not do anything contrary to what is in your best interest, so it’s best to make sure the person to whom you have granted power of attorney is someone you can trust.

 

While there are plenty of forms available on the Internet, it’s always best to consult an attorney to ensure you are using the appropriate documents and that you are protected. It’s also important that you make sure your POA is up to date. Changes in your life such as divorce or the death of the person you assigned as your agent can render the document useless.

 

 

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 
Susan R.  Miller

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