We Can Assist You with a Valid and Effective Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document that assigns authority for one person to act as an agent for another. The person executing a Power of Attorney and delegating powers is referred to as the “principal” and the person that is acting on behalf of the principal is called the “agent”. It is important to have a Power of Attorney in place to manage business affairs when you are unable to attend to them, for any number of reasons. To complete a valid Power of Attorney, the principal must sign the document in front of two witnesses and it must be notarized. At the time of the signing, the principal must be of sound mind and understand the content of the document. It is important to choose witnesses that you know and trust, as in the event the Power of Attorney is challenged in court, the witnesses can be called on to testify.
A Power of Attorney Must be Specific to your Needs
There are several types of Power of Attorney documents, each one giving legal rights to the agent but with different purposes;
- A General Power of Attorney affords the agent the authority to conduct all financial transactions for the principal, in his/her absence.
- A Limited or Special Power of Attorney is executed for a specific transaction or a certain period of time.
- A Durable Power of Attorney is the only document that remains in effect before and after the principal is determined to be incapacitated.
- A Swinging Power of Attorney is no longer permitted, since Florida State Legislation did an overhaul of the laws in October, 2011. However, if one was executed prior to this date, it remains valid. This document does not become effective until after the principal is incapacitated.
- A Florida Medical Power of Attorney is referred to as a Health Care Surrogate. This document allows for the agent to make health care decisions for the principal. This document requires two signatures but does not need to be notarized.
The requirement to be an agent is to be at least 18 years old and a trustworthy person that can make sound decisions, in the principal’s best interest. An agent has the responsibility to act prudently in managing the principal’s assets and must keep accurate records of all transactions. An agent can be held legally liable if they are found to be dishonest. When signing documents for the principal, the agent must include that they are an agent for that person, so that they aren’t held personally responsible.
A General Power of Attorney terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated. For all types of Power of Attorney documents, reasons for termination includes the revocation of the document by the principal, the death of the principal, the term of the document expires, the agent resigns, dies or files a dissolution of marriage if the agent is the spouse. If the principal revokes the Power of Attorney, it must be in writing, with a copy being served to the agent.
Contact Taylor and Nordman, P.A. for Legal Issues Related to your Power of Attorney
Legal issues can arise when a third party institution such as a bank, investment firm or any large purchase retailer refuses to honor the Power of Attorney. They can question if the document was executed properly, has been revoked, forged or if the principal was competent when it was signed. If it was executed in another state, it can be used in Florida, however it can raise further questions as to its validity.
When assigning legal rights to another person to manage your affairs, it is important to consult with an attorney, to ensure that the Power of Attorney is appropriate for your specific circumstances. Taylor and Nordman, P.A. are skilled estate planning attorneys that can draft a Power of Attorney that will meet your needs. We can discuss your options and formalize valid documents. Attorneys Richard W. Taylor and Michael P. Nordman are lifelong Volusia County residents, each with family in the county for over three generations. Both partners pride themselves as being zealous advocates in protecting their clients’ interests in or out of the courtroom. Call for a consultation and let our experience work for you.