Florida’s Power of Attorney 101
Written By: Christian N. Horde, J.D., LL.M.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of Attorney (POA) is a document that gives someone (the Agent) the legal authority to act on your behalf. The powers specified in the document may be general powers or specific, but they generally all relate to financial/asset decision making for the benefit of the Principal.
Who is a Principal?
The person giving the power to act is called the Principal. The powers granted under a Power of Attorney must be used for the benefit of the Principal.
Who is an Agent?
An agent (previously referred to as the attorney-in-fact) is the person to whom the power to act on behalf of the Principal is given.
What are the different types of Powers of Attorney documents?
- A Limited Power of Attorney grants limited authority to an Agent to act on behalf of the Principal. e.g. limited power of attorney to an Agent to sell a car in Florida.
- A General Power of Attorney grants general authority to an Agent to act on behalf of the Principal. The authority to act on behalf of the Principal goes away upon the death, revocation, or incapacity of the Principal.
- A Durable Power of Attorney, grants authority to an Agent to act on behalf of the Principal, and the authority does not go away even if the Principal is incapacitated.
- A Springing Power of Attorney grants authority to an Agent and it only becomes effective upon a certain event, such as the incapacity of the Principal. As of October 1, 2011, Springing Powers of Attorney are no longer valid in Florida if executed after that date.
How long do Powers of Attorney last in Florida?
Powers of Attorney may be revoked at any time by the Principal, so long as the Principal has the capacity to do so. It is important to notify interested parties of any such Revocation, including hospitals, banks and other financial institutions, as well as other parties or individuals who rely on a previously valid Power of Attorney.
What are the “Super Powers” under the Florida Power of Attorney Act?
The Revised Florida Power of Attorney Act from October 1, 2011 introduced what are called “Super Powers” or specific grants of authority, which include:
(1) the power to create an Inter Vivos Trust,
(2) the Power to Amend, Modify, Revoke, or Terminate a Trust created by the Principal, the Power to make gifts,
(4) the Power to Create or Change Rights of Survivorship, and
(5) the Power to Create or Change Beneficiary Designations.
These powers are very important when it comes to long-term care and Medicaid planning, and it is very important for your future that an experienced elder law attorney reviews or drafts your power of attorney. If you do not have a power of attorney for yourself, it is especially important to meet with us. The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller is always up to date on powers of attorneys and other estate planning documents. Our estate planning attorneys know the law and can work with you to review and setup your documents so you are prepared for the future. Contact us today 407-422-3017 to learn more!