St. Petersburg Lawyers
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that delegates authority to a person of your choosing to act on your behalf in legal and business matters. The person given the power is called the attorney-in-fact or agent, and you are called the principal.
The authority given to the agent can be very specific, such as selling a house, to very broad, such as handling any legal act that you (the principal) could do, as long as the acts are properly enumerated with sufficient specificity.
As your legal counsel, we develop your estate plan by drafting powers of attorney and other legal documents that express your decisions, plans and legal arrangements.
What Are Some Uses of a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney can be used to give another the right to sell a car, home, or other property in your place if you cannot be present. In matters where the agent is responsible for managing your money or property, they will act as your fiduciary.
The POA can also give the agent the authority to make health care decisions, handle financial transactions, or sign legal documents for you. The person you select as agent must therefore be someone who will act in good faith and serve to fulfill your intentions set forth in your estate plan.
What Is a Limited Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney?
A limited power of attorney gives authority to conduct a specific act such as selling a car.
A general power of attorney gives the agent broad powers to perform many legal acts on behalf of the principal. However, both limited and general powers of attorney terminate if and when the principal becomes disabled or dies and cannot act for him or herself.
Durable Power of Attorney: What Makes It Different?
Because many people want someone to act on their behalf should they become incapable, Florida law provides for a special power called a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA).
Drafted with explicit language to specify the durable provision, this document remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. However, a Durable Power of Attorney can be terminated if court proceedings are filed to determine the principal’s incapacity.
It is when a person can no longer act for himself or herself that the power of attorney is most valuable. It is vital to establish a DPOA before the principal becomes incapacitated. A properly executed Durable Power of Attorney is one of the most important documents in an estate plan.
When Does the Durable Power of Attorney Terminate?
The authority of the agent of a Durable Power of Attorney automatically ends when one of three things happen:
- The principal dies.
- The principal revokes the Power of Attorney by sending written notice by mail that requires a signed receipt or by certain approved methods of personal delivery to the agent and to any other party who might rely on the power.
- A court determines that the principal is totally or partially incapacitated and does not specifically state that the Power of Attorney is to remain in force.
Where Can a Person Obtain a Power of Attorney Form?
Even though there are pre-printed forms available, they may not be appropriate and may not provide the protection needed. They may actually revoke existing legal documents unintentionally. Because a Power of Attorney is an important and powerful document, it is absolutely essential to consult with an Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney to ensure no mistakes are made.
Draft Powers of Attorney Before You Need Them
Contact Deeb Elder Law today to establish these important legal powers or to have any related questions you may have answered. We can walk you through your options for creating Powers of Attorney and provide you with confidence, peace of mind and a solid plan that works for you.