Empowering Your Future: A Comprehensive Guide to the Power of Attorney 

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: 

  • General Power of Attorney: A general power of attorney provides the agent with broad powers to act on the principal’s behalf. It encompasses a wide range of activities—including managing financial affairs. Unless specified otherwise, the agent can perform most financial/legal tasks on behalf of the principal. Though, there are some exceptions. 
  • Limited Power of Attorney: A limited power of attorney grants the agent authority to act only in specific situations or for a designated purpose. As a simple example, a principal might assign an agent the power to sell a particular piece of real estate or manage specific transactions while they are away on business outside of the country
  • Durable Power of Attorney: By far the most common form of power of attorney used in estate planning in Florida, a durable power of attorney is a form of POA that remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. A durable POA helps to ensure that the agent can continue to make decisions for the principal during a period of temporary or permanent incapacity. 

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: 

  • Financial Management: Should you become incapacitated, a POA enables a designated person to manage your assets—ensuring bills are paid and finances are handled.
  • Healthcare Decisions: A specialized healthcare POA ensures that medical choices align with your values and wishes if you are unable to communicate them.
  • Clarity and Legal Protection: Having a POA reduces potential legal disputes among family members regarding decisions on your behalf.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing someone trustworthy is authorized to manage your affairs provides peace for both you and your loved ones.

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. 

Portrait of Odelia Goldberg, Esq.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

Florida Bar Logo Broward County Bar Logo NYSBA Logo United States Patent and Trademark Office Logo Broward Attorney Real Estate Council Logo

Schedule a Consultation

1270 SW 26th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, Florida   33312

Phone: 954-832-0885


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg Logo White

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
© 2024 The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Web Development by IWD Marketing