From a Melbourne Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney
How is a Fiduciary Appointed? What is his/her “fiduciary responsibility?”
A Power of Attorney document (“POA”) can be executed in Florida according to state law which grants all or a portion of the powers allowed to be delegated to another person. That person is known as an “Agent”, an “Attorney-In-Fact”, and a “Fiduciary”. These titles are different ways to title the person empowered by the POA to make decisions and act on behalf of the Principal or grantor.
An Agent or Attorney-In-Fact is a fiduciary and has the power and the duty to manage the Principal’s affairs according to the POA. The Agent is governed by the POA document and by Florida Statutes, Chapter 709 and in particular sections 709.2112, .2113, .2114,.2115 which govern the appointment of the Agent, the actions (allowed and prohibited) of the Agent, the compensation of the Agent, and possible exoneration of the Agent.
The Agent has a duty to invest and / or manage the assets of the Principal as a prudent investor. This is required of the Agent under the Florida Statutes listed above. Reasonable care and caution must be used by the Agent while managing the Principal’s assets. The Agent must extend this reasonableness with regard to all assets not just one particular asset. If an Agent has special training, skills, or expertise he or she must use those skills in the management of the Principal’s assets, business dealings, personal finance, and all other powers.
The statutes require careful reporting of fiduciaries (Agents). Written records and logs should be kept for every task, phone call, letter, transaction, action by the Agent. Logging everything allows the Agent to show the Principal, an agency of authority, law enforcement, the family, or others what he or she has done, spent, said on behalf of the Principal.
Read more on our website in the Durable Power of Attorney section.
There are several attorneys at Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley, LLC. who can and will help you properly prepare an authoritative and legally strong Florida power of attorney. Likely a POA is the most powerful document you will ever sign; Don’t trust it to anyone but an attorney. Specialized documents and flat fee packages are available. Call for a free initial consultation (321) 631-0506 or email using the Contact Us form.
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