Why do I need a Power of Attorney?
Powers of Attorney are governed by the law of agency, a branch of common law concerned with delegating power from one person (the Principal) to another (Attorney-in-fact or Agent). When a person becomes incapacitated, the government or the court often steps in and appoints someone to represent and make legal decisions for the incapacitated person. One of the ways to avoid government or court intervention and the appointment of a stranger to act as your Guardian is to use a Power of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a written document that can be limited in scope, or it can allow one person, the Principle, to give another, the Agent, the full power and authority to represent him or her. The relevant Florida Statutes that cover the Power of Attorneys is Part II of Chapter 709.
Florida is not unique, as it requires the person making the Power of Attorney to be very specific in the acts that another person may do for them. The broad general language found in general forms is no longer actionable.
What kinds of Power of Attorneys are there?
A Power of Attorney can be limited for one-time use for a very specific purpose, such as allowing another person the ability to sign documents for a real estate transaction. Alternately, a Power of Attorney can be written with multiple enumerated powers used by your representative to take care of many unforeseen circumstances. For a Power of Attorney to be "Durable," it must specifically be authorized to serve your incapacity. A Durable Power of Attorney is most relevant in estate planning and planning for Incapacity and is essential in "crisis planning" for Medicaid qualification.
What's the difference between "Ordinary" and "Extraordinary" Powers in a Power of Attorney?
"Ordinary" powers are enumerated and included as part of the Power of Attorney, but "Extraordinary" Powers require an additional step of authorizing specific enumerated powers, and the Prinicipal must specifically designate the desire to include or exclude the enumerated power being in force. The statutory language used in a Power of Attorney can be very confusing, and it is often difficult to understand the context of how such an enumerated power would be applied to your life situation. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you understand why a Power of Attorney is essential to your estate plan or plan for incapacity.
Give us a call. We can help.
Law Office of Shawn C. Newman, P.A.
710 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305-1238
Phone: (954) 563-9160
Serving all of the greater Fort Lauderdale area and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties in Southern Florida.