Every adult in Florida should have a well-designed estate plan in place. Estate planning is about far more than determining who gets what. It is also about protecting your health, your rights, and your financial interests—no matter what tomorrow might bring. Incapacity planning is an essential part of estate planning. Power of attorney (POA) is one of the most effective ways to plan for a day when you may no longer be in a position to manage your own affairs. Here, our Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney provides a comprehensive guide to the power of attorney in Florida.
Know the Basics: What is the Power of Attorney?
As explained by The Florida Bar, a power of attorney is “a legal document delegating authority from one person to another.” The designated individual—also referred to as an agent—can make crucial decisions when the principal is unable or unavailable. The term principal is used to refer to a person who granted their POA to another party. Notably, power of attorney may be granted to a spouse, parent, adult child, or other trusted loved one.
Florida Law: Agent Must Fulfill Duties
The agent who holds power of attorney on behalf of another person has been placed in a position of immense trust. It is imperative that they are both capable of and willing to fulfill all of their legal responsibilities. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 709.2114), an agent acting using POA has a fiduciary responsibility to the principal. In effect, this means that they must act in the principal’s best interest and avoid conflicts of interest. Beyond that, Florida law also mandates that agents keep proper financial records regarding all transactions completed through the use of POA.
Understanding the Different Types of Power of Attorney in Florida
It is important to clarify that all powers of attorney are not created equal. Florida recognizes that different people have different needs. As such, you have the ability to use one (or more) of several types of power of attorney to best protect your interests. Here is an overview:
A key thing to keep in mind is that a POA is not a one-size-fits-all estate planning document. It can be customized to suit individual needs and specific situations. Whether you require someone to handle a single financial transaction, oversee a particular health decision, or manage broader aspects of your affairs, the POA can be tailored to best protect your interests and achieve your goals.
Why You Need a POA as Part of Your Estate Plan in Fort Lauderdale
Your estate plan should provide true protection and reliable peace of mind. A well-drafted power of attorney document can help. Here are reasons why you should include a POA in your estate plan:
Power of Attorney in Florida: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Power of Attorney Be Revoked in Florida?
Yes. In Florida, the principal can revoke a POA at any time, as long as they are mentally competent. It is highly recommended that the revocation be done in writing and clearly communicated to the agent and to any relevant third parties, especially financial institutions.
Does the Agent Have the Ability to Revise a Will Using POA?
No. An agent granted power through a POA cannot change or revise the principal’s will. Florida law is clear: The authority of a POA is never sufficient to revise a person’s will.
Can Power of Attorney Be Used for Probate?
No. A POA becomes ineffective upon the death of the principal. Once a person passes away, the POA loses all authority to manage their assets. Probate matters—which govern the distribution of a deceased person’s assets—should be handled by the executor named in the will or a court-appointed administrator. Though, you could name a trusted person as both your POA and the executor of your will. Indeed, doing so is relatively common.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Estate Planning Attorney for a Confidential Consultation
At The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg, our Fort Lauderdale estate planning lawyer is standing by, ready to help you empower your future. If you have any questions or concerns about POA in Florida, we are here as your reliable legal resource. Contact our estate planning team today for your completely confidential consultation. With a law office in Fort Lauderdale, we serve communities throughout the region, including Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County.
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