Your existing documents might not give your agent any legal authority to take necessary action for you. This is especially true when individuals or families have downloaded forms from a website, obtained forms in an office supply store, received forms from a hospice provider or a military base, or even had documents drafted by an attorney whose practice area is not Elder Law. This can be extremely problematic as, often, once the need arises to activate the documents, the client no longer has the capacity sufficient to execute those documents.

Here’s what that means for you.

– It is extremely important to know that in 2011, and again in 2013, the law in Florida changed enforcing “super-powers” on a DPA. These new legal requirements give authority to the agent to do very specific things, such as plan for public benefits, open a safety deposit box, change beneficiary designations, etc.

– Each of these super-powers must be initialed and understood by the person signing the DPA.

– Powers of Attorney dated before 2011 are not updated with the legal language to allow for these actions and are not valid for many needs. Generally, if a DPA is from 2013, and certainly from 2011 or older, are no longer considered legally valid.

– DPAs that have been created out-of-state, by the military, downloaded online, created by a hospice provider, or purchased at an office supply store, are generally insufficient to provide for actions that are necessary within the laws of the State of Florida. Oftentimes, these documents are very vague in nature, created to meet the general guidelines across the country, whereas Florida requires very specific language to be able to act on a person’s behalf, including if a family is in need of planning for VA or Medicaid benefits.

– Unfortunately, without a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney, a family who finds that the need to perform agent duties that are not listed specifically on the DPA may be faced with an expensive and unnecessary Guardianship process.

Want to have your documents reviewed? Call us at 321-345-5945.

How to correctly sign as Power of Attorney