Table of Contents
- Download a Florida Power of Attorney Template
- Florida Power of Attorney Requirements
- Examples of Duties Handled
- Terms of the Document – Types of POAs
- Revoking a Power of Attorney
- Is this the same as a healthcare power of attorney?
1. Download a Florida Power of Attorney Template
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2. Florida Power of Attorney Requirements
In Florida, power of attorney documents are legal papers that state that a person, a group of people, a financial institution, or a business, known as “agent(s),” has the legal capacity to act as a proxy for a person, known as the “principal.” These documents give either broad or limited powers to the agent to make financial, business, and legal decisions on the behalf of the principal, as well as healthcare decisions, in the event of the latter’s incapacity.
In order for your Florida power of attorney document to be effective, it must:
- Comply with specific state laws, conveniently codified under Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes.
- Include the following information:
- Names of the agent and the principal
- Each of the powers granted to the agent in clear terms
- Clear language explaining the exact responsibilities delegated to the agent
- State an agent that is at least 18 years of age, or a financial institution or business within the state, which has trust powers and is legally authorized to conduct business in Florida.
- Be signed by the principal in front of two witnesses, and the document must also be notarized. However, the law allows for one of the witnesses to be the notary public.
Power of Attorney PDF Sample
The power of attorney (POA) sample below gives “Agent” Mary N Gordon the authority to make financial decisions in the event that “Principal” William R Edwards is incapacitated. Mary has the authority to handle issues dealing with William’s property, stocks, insurance, and business.Florida Power of Attorney (Financial) (1)
3. Examples of Duties Handled
The duties expected of an agent that are granted in a power of attorney document are defined by Florida Statutes section 709.2114, and include:
- Acting only within the power granted in the document
- Never acting in a manner contrary to the principal’s reasonable expectations
- Never acting in a manner contrary to the best interest of the principal
- Preserving the principal’s estate plan
- Knowing the value and nature of the principal’s property, including minimizing taxes, maintenance, and managing income derived from it
- Checking for eligibility for benefits, programs, and other general assistance
- Never delegating authority to third parties
- Keeping proper records and receipts for all transactions made on the principal’s behalf
- Cooperating with the agent authorized to make healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf
These are just a few of the many duties expected of a fiduciary agent, or an agent acting on the behalf of a principal’s best interest.
There are a few exceptions to the absolute powers granted in a power of attorney document:
- Under the current ideation of the law, the agent must adhere to the estate plans that the principal laid forth to the absolute best of his or her knowledge. He or she is not to deviate from such plans in the interest of personal unjust enrichment. This can lead to his or her immediate removal.
- A divorce, even when it is not yet finalized, automatically triggers a revocation of a spouse’s rights as an appointed agent. Simply filing the divorce petition will initiate the termination of such authority.
4. Terms of the Document – Types of POAs
There are different classifications of power of attorney documents in Florida. They are categorized by the legal purpose of the document and the time period that they are intended to cover.
Limited Power of Attorney
For example, the state recognizes a limited power of attorney document that allows an agent to perform only one specific act in the name of the principal. This can be limited to such an act as selling a vehicle or home while you are out of town and delegating your ability to do so to another person. The act must be outlined clearly in the document.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. That said, specific wording must be included within the document to explicitly state that the power of attorney is meant to surpass the principal’s incapacitation, such as those laid out in Florida Statutes section 709.2104.
Springing Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney is a document that becomes effective upon the incapacitation of the principal, or dependent upon any other future event. In accordance with Florida Statutes section 709.2108, after October 1, 2011, the law changed, basically outlawing any power of attorney that only becomes effective contingent on something happening at a later date, or if the powers referred to in the document are not considered fully granted at the date in which it was executed.
That being said, under Florida Statutes section 709.2106(2), there is what is considered a “grandfather” clause for documents that contain springing powers and were executed prior to the above-stated date. In order to enact one of these grandfathered-in powers of attorney, you must obtain an affidavit from the physician that is primarily caring for the principal in his or her time of illness. The affidavit must state that the physician is licensed to practice in Florida and must blatantly state that he or she is the primary medical caregiver for the principal, and that the principal lacks the mental capacity to look over his or her property and finances.
5. Revoking a Power of Attorney
Agents must be trustworthy and loyal to the principal’s wishes. As such, the revocation of power of attorney is a document that can be executed by the principal to revoke the power of attorney if any issue should arise that may compromise the agent’s ability to carry out his or her plans. Like the initial document, Florida does not provide an official form.
6. Is this the same as a healthcare power of attorney?
This is different from a healthcare power of attorney document. In accordance with Florida Statutes section 765.202, a healthcare power of attorney is both a durable and springing (if applicable) power of attorney that is used to authorize your chosen surrogate to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacitation.
In Florida, it is usually referred to as the Florida Medical Power of Attorney, the Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate, or an Advance Directive, and its suggested formation can be found at Florida Statutes section 765.203. In addition to choosing a healthcare surrogate, you must choose an alternate surrogate, in case the original surrogate is unable to perform his or her duties. It is pertinent that the surrogates chosen have a working knowledge of the principal’s medical treatment preferences.
Oftentimes, it is best if all such medical wishes are expressed in a written living will.