Power of attorney in Florida

Power of Attorney in Florida

What Is a Power of Attorney?

In Florida, a power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters.

A power of attorney is one of the most important documents in an estate plan. This document is commonly used to (1) manage finances, (2) handle real estate transactions, (3) access bank accounts, and (4) manage legal affairs on behalf of the principal.

Types of Power of Attorney in Florida

    There are several types of power of attorney documents in Florida. Each has a different purpose and grants varying levels of authority.

    A general power of attorney gives broad powers to the agent to manage financial and legal matters, making it useful for handling diverse tasks but it typically becomes invalid if the principal becomes incapacitated. In contrast, a durable power of attorney remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.

    A limited power of attorney grants the agent authority only for specific tasks or for a limited period. A common example of a limited power of attorney is handling a real estate transaction.

    Meanwhile, a healthcare power of attorney, also called a healthcare advanced directive, allows the agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal when they cannot do so.

    Prior versions of Florida law allowed a springing power of attorney, but recent revisions to Florida law outlawed its use.

    Legal Requirements

    Here are the legal requirements to make a valid power of attorney in Florida:

    1. You must have legal capacity.
    2. It must be voluntary.
    3. There must be two witnesses.
    4. It must be notarized.

    Steps to Making a Power of Attorney

    Here are the steps to making a power of attorney in Florida:

    1. Decide which type of power of attorney to make.
    2. Choose an agent and the scope of the authority.
    3. Obtain a power of attorney form or have an attorney draft one.
    4. Sign the power of attorney in the manner provided by Florida law.
    5. Give a copy of the power of attorney to the agent.

    The scope of the power of attorney, also called a general power of attorney, can range from very small—a short duration and only the power to do very few things—to all-encompassing.

    A broad power of attorney might empower the attorney-in-fact to act legally for the grantor for any aspect of their life, including entering and making contracts, loans, mortgages, deeds, trusts, and so on.

    We help families throughout Florida.

    We take care of all the estate planning documents you need. You can get everything done remotely. Start with a free phone or Zoom consultation.

    Alper Law attorneys

    Benefits of a Power of Attorney

    Getting a power of attorney can give you peace of mind by ensuring your affairs are managed according to your wishes.

    With a power of attorney, you designate a trusted person to handle financial, legal, or healthcare decisions on your behalf. Should there be a period of illness, incapacity, or unavailability, this ensures your bills are paid, contracts are managed, and medical decisions are made in line with your preferences.

    Having a power of attorney can prevent costly and time-consuming court proceedings. Without a power of attorney, if you become incapacitated, your family may need to seek a court-appointed guardian to make decisions for you. A power of attorney preemptively grants authority to someone you trust.

    Remember, a power of attorney ends at your death, at which point the directives of your will (if you have one) take over.

    Steps to getting a power of attorney

    FAQs About a Florida Power of Attorney

    Can you have more than one power of attorney?

    Yes, a person can create more than one power of attorney. A single power of attorney document may designate multiple people, or a person can use multiple documents, each giving a separate set of powers to specific people.

    Sometimes a person may create a general power of attorney for one person while then creating a more limited power of attorney for another person.

    Should you get a power of attorney?

    A power of attorney is a typical component of basic Florida estate planning. However, younger couples or recently married couples may decide to omit the power of attorney from their estate plan. They may decide that they do not want to give their spouse the broad legal authority that a Florida power of attorney confers.

    Gideon Alper

    About the Author

    I’m an attorney who specializes in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have been practicing law for almost 15 years.

    I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.