When it comes to protecting your assets and wishes as you age, establishing a power of attorney is an important step. This is something you can, and should, establish early on as you consider your retirement preferences. If you are interested in knowing more about a power of attorney or how to obtain a power of attorney in Florida, we can help.
What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone else the ability to make decisions for you. It is important to make this kind of decision when you are healthy as a POA must be established without coercion by a mentally competent person who is of sound mind.
The Function and Types of POAs
Establishing a POA is an important part of ensuring your wishes are followed. You can decide what types of power you want your agent to have even while you are still well and/or during possible subsequent incapacity. In this way, POAs are a powerful part of your estate plan because you can allow specific needs to be handled by others at the stages you want.
As you move forward to establish a POA, you have choices in the “type” of POA that is best.
- Durable POA: This type of POA has broad authority over financial matters, allowing your agent to make finance decisions, real estate transactions, investments, pay bills, etc.
- Limited POA: This is the most specific and limited POA option, where you establish only certain roles and/or periods of time when your agent is allowed to act on your behalf.
- Medical POA: (also known as a Healthcare Surrogate) This type allows your agent to make medical and healthcare decisions on your behalf.
When creating a POA, there is the option to have two people sharing decision-making authority over important matters like finances, medical care, signing documents on one’s behalf, etc.
How to Obtain a Power of Attorney in Florida
Now that you have information on the different types of POA in Florida, it is time to take the steps to obtain one:
- Consider the POA options above and determine which fits your needs best.
- Decide whether your POA should be durable, long-lasting, or limited to a certain condition/time frame.
- Discuss with your agent the powers you have given him/her and the responsibilities he/she has.
- Contact our office to assist in preparation of the POA. Note, Florida statutes indicate a POA must be witnessed and notarized.
- Make both digital and hard copies of your POA and keep them in a safe location.
Determining the right POA for your situation and following the proper legal process is important. For peace of mind while you are pursuing the POA process, please contact our office for a consultation.