What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that delegates certain financial decisions to another person. A Durable Power of Attorney designates an agency/trusted person or organization to act on the principal’s behalf. It does not remove the power to make decisions from the principal. It merely adds an additional decision-maker.
Some examples of these financial decisions might include:
- Signing contracts or other legal documents.
- Planning for Medicaid/long-term care.
- Handling financial transactions.
- Buying and selling real estate assets.
- Banking transactions.
- Settling insurance claims.
- Filing tax returns.
- Designating beneficiaries on retirement, life insurance, and other accounts.
- Suing or defending lawsuits.
A Durable Power of Attorney document provides permission for someone else to help you with your finances. It also allows you to avoid guardianships. The attorneys at The Miller Elder Law Firm possess an unmatched level of experience drafting Durable Powers of Attorney that fit your needs.
“If you reach the age of 70, you have an 80-85% chance of becoming incapacitated before you die. It is very likely that you will need someone to use a Durable Power of Attorney in order to protect your assets.”
Types of Powers of Attorney
In Florida, the individual delegating power is referred to as the “principal,” and the party enabled to act on the principal’s behalf is referred to as the “agent.” A principal must have testamentary capacity when signing a Power of Attorney in order for the document to be valid. Although the authority of the agent will terminate upon the principal’s death, there are different types of powers of attorney that may exist:
- General Power of Attorney: This document grants authority from a principal to an agent or agents for a variety of matters, which are typically short-lived, such as a one-time transaction. Because a General Power of Attorney is ineffective if the principal becomes incapacitated, it is used by many only as a temporary authorization for decision-making.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This document authorizes the agent to continue to exercise authority even after the incapacity of the principal. This is the most important type of Power of Attorney, and the most common at The Miller Elder Law Firm.
- Springing Power of Attorney: Under Florida’s new Durable Power of Attorney Statute, effective October 1, 2011, Springing Durable Powers of Attorney are no longer effective under Florida Law.
Why should I contact The Miller Elder Law Firm for a Durable Power of Attorney?
It is crucial to obtain competent assistance when it comes to protecting your assets, because of all the possible things that may go wrong if you try to do so without proper legal counsel. It is easy to believe that a downloadable Power of Attorney form may work for you, but it involves great risk. Drafting a Power of Attorney that is not in accord with Florida’s laws will make the document invalid. Also, qualification for Medicaid requires very specific provisions to be in your Durable Power of Attorney. If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney, a guardianship may be required to manage your finances. The guardianship process is expensive, unpleasant, and subject to the courts’ discretion.
The Miller Elder Law Firm provides you with the qualified knowledge and guidance to make sure that your Power of Attorney complies with Florida laws, and helps you on your journey, should you be unable to manage your finances. We can help guide you through this process. Contact The Miller Elder Law Firm today for an initial consultation at (352) 379-1900 or fill out our convenient contact form.