Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney document is an important part of your plan for possible incapacity. This document is helpful if you have trouble getting around or become incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney is only effective during your lifetime, its power terminates upon your death. It can be revoked or changed by you during any time of capacity – it cannot be changed after you are incapacitated. (If you have questions about what incapacity is in Florida, call us for more information.) In summary a Durable Power of Attorney provides legal protection for you and your assets and Florida State Statutes Chapter 709 govern the creation, execution, and eventual use of powers under your Durable Power of Attorney.
This Durable Power of Attorney document carries great power as it provides a person appointed by you (the “Agent”) with the authority to manage your financial affairs (you are the “Principle”). It is important that this document be drafted with great attention to your specific needs. Considerations must be made for Medicaid eligibility in the future, your basic needs, on-going care, your children or other heirs, and your spouse. Many people want to avoid the demanding and costly experience of Guardianship; a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney can authorize the Agent to act in ways that can keep you and your assets out of Guardianship. Do not make the mistake of filling out a generic form – this is unwise and is a potentially expensive mistake for you and your family. If the document is not legally sufficient the Bank, Hospital, Government Agency, Insurance Company or other institution will refuse to take action based on the document.
Your Durable Power of Attorney will be used (primarily) by your Agent when you are unable to make decisions/are in a position of incapacity. Any issues with the document will likely be discovered after you are incapacitated and the Agent has begun trying to work on your behalf. Then it is too late to change anything or correct any deficiencies.
Here is an example of how your Durable Power of Attorney works. If your documents authorize your Agent to do so, your Agent can gain access to your bank accounts, certificates of deposit, mutual funds or your Agent can enter into a contract on your behalf or sell property you own. It is a very powerful document with broad authority for the Agent to act on your behalf however there are also statutes that require the Agent to act only in your best interest.
Please ensure your Durable Power of Attorney is drafted to accommodate you and your specific needs. Call us for a free consultation at our office or in your home – initial consultations are always free. 321-631-0506