Powers of Attorney
Your Power of Attorney Authorizes Someone Else to Make Decisions for You
A power of Attorney is a written legal document in which you give someone you trust, called your agent, the power to make decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself. We prepare the document according to your direction so that the person to whom you give your power of attorney knows exactly what he or she is authorized to do for you. It can be a “General Power of Attorney” which gives your agent the authority to essentially make all of your decisions for you. It may be “Limited,” giving your agent only the authority to make designated types of decisions for you and only for a limited period of time.
Other types of Powers of Attorney are available, such as a Durable Power of Attorney where you give your agent the right to make healthcare decisions for you. Military personnel can name an agent to make decisions during the time the military person is on deployment.
Call us at our Florida, Sarasota, Wills, Trusts, Probate and Elder Law Firm, PLLC, to discuss the different types of Powers of Attorney that will work for you and determine which ones we need to prepare on your behalf.
IMPORTANT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Powers of Attorney are governed by Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes, also known as “The Florida Power of Attorney Act”.
Unless otherwise specified, the information herein applies to Powers of Attorney signed on or after Oct. 1, 2011. Consult a lawyer regarding use and enforceability of Powers of Attorney executed prior to Oct. 1, 2011. The information applies generally to all Powers of Attorney although special rules for Durable Powers of Attorney are noted.
What is a power of attorney?
What are some uses of a Power of Attorney?
Where may a person obtain a Power of Attorney?
Does a power of attorney need witnesses or a notary?
What is a “principal?”
What is an “agent?”
What is a “third party?”
What is a “Limited Power of Attorney?”
What is a “General Power of Attorney?”
What is a “Durable Power of Attorney?”
Must a person be competent to sign a Power of Attorney?
Who may serve as an agent?
What happens if the Power of Attorney was created under the laws of another state?
What about a Military Power of Attorney?
POWERS AND DUTIES OF AGENT
What activities are permitted by an agent?
Two types of acts may be incorporated by a simple reference to the statutes in the Power of Attorney – the “authority to conduct banking transactions as provided in section 709.2208(1), Florida Statutes” and the “authority to conduct investment transactions as provided in section 709.08(2), Florida Statutes.” When either of these phrases is included in the Power of Attorney, all of the acts authorized by the referenced statute may be performed by the agent even though the specific acts are not listed in the Power of Attorney itself.
May an agent sell the principal’s home?
What may an agent not do on behalf of a principal?
What are the responsibilities of an agent?
Is there a certain code of conduct for agents?
USING THE POWER OF ATTORNEY
When is a Power of Attorney effective?
Must the principal deliver the Power of Attorney to the agent right after signing or may the principal wait until such time as the services of the agent are needed?
How does the agent initiate decision-making authority under the Power of Attorney?
How should the agent sign when acting as an agent?
Howard Rourk, as agent for Ellsworth Toohey. In this example, Howard Rourk is the agent, and Ellsworth Toohey is the principal.
What if the third party will not accept the Power of Attorney?
Under some circumstances, if the third party’s refusal to honor the Power of Attorney causes damage, the third party may be liable for those damages and even attorney’s fees and court costs. Even mere delay may cause damage and this, too, may be actionable. It is reasonable, however, for the third party to have the time to consult with a lawyer or an internal legal department about the Power of Attorney. Delay for more than a short period may be unreasonable. Upon refusal or unreasonable delay, consult an attorney.
Why do third parties sometimes refuse Powers of Attorney?
What if a third party requires the agent to sign an affidavit prior to honoring the Power of Attorney?
What else may the third party require?
May the agent employ others to assist him or her?
RELATIONSHIP OF POWER OF ATTORNEY TO OTHER LEGAL INSTRUMENTS
What is the difference between an agent and an executor or personal representative?
What is the difference between a “trustee” and an “agent”?
What if the principal has a “guardian” appointed by the court?
May a Power of Attorney avoid the need for guardianship?
HEALTH CARE AND THE POWER OF ATTORNEY
What is the relationship between a Declaration of Living Will and Power of Attorney?
What is a Health Care Surrogate Designation and how does it differ from a Power of Attorney?
TERMINATION OF THE POWER OF ATTORNEY
When does a Power of Attorney terminate?
When does a particular agent’s authority terminate?
What is the procedure for a principal to revoke a Power of Attorney?
Court proceedings were filed to appoint a guardian for the principal or to determine whether the principal is incapacitated. How does this affect the Power of Attorney?
Authority as agent has been suspended because guardianship proceedings are pending for the principal. Now there is an emergency but no guardian has been appointed yet. What now?
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND THE LIABILITY OF AN AGENT
What is “fiduciary responsibility?”
Please contact us to discuss any specific situation or needs you may have to see how we may be able to assist in reaching a resolution. We offer a free thirty (30) minute consultation to see if we can help.