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Requirements and Standards of Florida Powers of Attorney

As we age, we will have to make decisions on various things, like our finances and healthcare. Sometimes, those decisions need to be made while we are incapacitated. That is why designating a power of attorney for your financial and medical needs may make sense. 

A power of attorney is made up of a legal document which gives the designated person the right to make decisions on your behalf. You would still retain the right to make decisions on your own. Depending on your needs, the power of attorney designation can be limited in scope to making either financial or health care decisions on your behalf. However, a general power of attorney can include a broader set of powers that are not limited to certain areas. The circumstances and time in which a power of attorney can make decisions can be limited. The document is executed outside of a courtroom and does not need a judge to sign it. Generally, a power of attorney designation costs less than other ways of granting authority over assets or health, but you must be in a proper state of mind in order to grant this power. Otherwise, it is not valid.  

Florida Power of Attorney Requirements

There are certain requirements that must be met in the state of Florida in order to institute a power of attorney designation. In fact, if you are residing in Florida, it makes the most sense to have a power of attorney designated under Florida law. A power of attorney created in another state can be used in Florida but will be subject to Florida laws on the matter. A “principal” is the person making the power of attorney designation. The “agent,” in Florida, is the person designated as power of attorney. 

Florida Power of Attorney Statutes

Florida has a specific statute dedicated to powers of attorney. According to that law, Florida does not allow a “springing” power of attorney, which is a power of attorney that becomes effective upon a person’s incapacitation, and there is not a formal power of attorney form to fill out. This can make it more difficult to obtain a power of attorney in Florida. There are, however, rules surrounding who can be designated a power of attorney. For instance, the person you designate as power of attorney must be at least 18, or certain financial institution with trust powers, or a business which is able to legally conduct business in the state of Florida. It is important to thoroughly trust whoever you designate to carry out your wishes and make strong decisions regarding your health and finances. The agent can carry out several financial decisions on the principal’s behalf, including selling property, banking and investment transactions. The agent may also hire others to help on their behalf, including accountants, lawyers, and other financial professionals. 

In Florida, there are requirements that go beyond being in a solid state of mind in order to designate a power of attorney. According to the law, the person instituting the power of attorney and two witnesses must sign the document. If the person designating the power of attorney is incapacitated, a certified notary may sign it in their place. 

For matters related to healthcare, specific terms are used, as opposed to healthcare power of attorney. It is called a designation of healthcare surrogate. Florida statute also lays out what is permitted in these designations. 

Consult with an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you or someone you love is facing these types of decisions, speaking with a qualified attorney can help you make the right choices for yourself and your family. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the process and ensure you are taking care of your assets, your health, and your loved ones. The Mattar Firm is happy to help in drafting your power of attorney and ensuring your incapacity is properly planned for. Call now, 844-444-4444.


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