Florida Power of Attorney
Although no one ever really plans to become incapacitated, life is filled with unpredictability. Old age, accidents, and unplanned events can leave a person unable to look after everyday affairs, such as bills, appointments, and trips to the grocery store. This is why it is important to include a power of attorney in your estate plan. By appointing a trusted friend or family member to manage your affairs when you cannot, you can rest easy knowing your important decisions will be handled by someone you can count on.
For more than 25 years, I have helped people plan for life’s curveballs. I consider it a privilege to assist individuals and their families with creating effective, powerful documents that address their needs and concerns. At the law office of Gregory H. Zogran, we are a law firm dedicated to helping people. Whatever your goals, we will ensure you have the right documents in place to protect them.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
You may have heard about a power of attorney, but do you really know what it means? In Florida, a power of attorney is a legal document in which one person, called a principal, appoints another – known as an attorney-in-fact – to make important decisions on the principal’s behalf. These decisions can range from paying bills and selling property to buying clothing and signing contracts.
Because a power of attorney vests your attorney-in-fact with a considerable amount of authority, it is important to work with an estate planning attorney who can explain the benefits and risks of putting one in place. At the law office of Gregory H. Zogran, we do not believe in rapid-fire estate planning. Although we prepare your documents promptly and efficiently, we take the time to sit down with you to thoroughly review your options. Quite simply, your life is too important for boilerplate documents. We help you identify your goals and create a power of attorney that meets them. Life may be uncertain; your estate plan should not be.
Durable Power of Attorney
There are many types of powers of attorney available under Florida law. As a practical matter, however, the majority of these documents are durable powers of attorney. A durable power of attorney stays in place even upon the incapacity of the principal. This allows the agent to step in and begin making decisions without any interruption in the daily life of the principal. To protect against fraud and abuse, there are specific requirements for durable powers of attorney under Florida law.
- The durable power of attorney must be in writing
- It must contain specific statutory language
- It must be signed by two witnesses who also see the principal sign and, if applicable, it must contain a valid legal description of any real property being transferred
- It must be notarized
In an effort to save time and money, some people try to make their own durable powers of attorney, purchase them on the Internet, or buy a do-it-yourself kit at an office supply store. In reality, cutting corners rarely saves time and usually ends up costing more money in the long run. Because the requirements are stringent, and the consequences of poor preparation are severe, it is important to work with a knowledgeable estate law practitioner to ensure your affairs are properly handled.
General Power of Attorney
Unlike a durable power of attorney, a general power of attorney terminates upon the principal’s incapacity. With a general power of attorney, you can grant your attorney-in-fact the authority to make any number of decisions on your behalf. If you want your power of attorney to survive your incapacity, however, you must opt for a durable power of attorney instead.
Limited Power of Attorney
In some cases, you may only need help with an isolated decision or act. For example, you might want your adult child to help you sell your home. With a limited power of attorney, you can appoint a trusted friend or family member, such as a grown child or spouse, to attend the closing and sign all relevant paperwork on your behalf. Because your attorney-in-fact’s authority is limited, you can rest easy knowing you retain control over all other decisions in your life.
Planning for the Future
To discuss your Florida power of attorney questions and concerns today, call my office at 772-220-9699 to discuss your case. I welcome the opportunity to assist you and your family.