Power of Attorney in St. Petersburg

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. While a Power of Attorney can be limited to one or more situations, the type used in most estate planning, the Durable Power of Attorney, is very comprehensive, and is intended to apply to most foreseeable situations where you may need or desire assistance with legal and financial matters. Additionally, while most Powers of Attorney are ineffective and may not be used while the Grantor of the power is under a temporary or permanent mental incapacity, a “Durable” Power of Attorney does not carry that limitation. It is basically effective until death in most circumstances, irrespective of the Grantor’s mental capacity, which makes it an enduring power of attorney or lasting power of attorney.

The person appointed in a Durable Power of Attorney to make decisions for you, is called your “Attorney in Fact”. You can also appoint an alternate Attorney in Fact, just in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to act. In Florida, the person(s) you wish to appoint as Attorney in Fact does not have to sign any document agreeing to be your Attorney in Fact, but it is wise to ask first, as some people do not wish to undertake the serious responsibilities which come with the job. 

Your Attorney in Fact can act on your behalf in a number of ways

Your Attorney in Fact can assist you with many legal and financial matters, including, but not limited to many instances involving:

  • Banking matters
  • Investment and brokerage matters
  • U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Social Security
  • IRS
  • State tax matters
  • Buying, selling, or maintaining a home or other real estate
  • Transferring, or to buy or sell a car or other motor vehicle
  • Insurance
  • Lawsuits
  • Paying or collecting debts
  • Legal matters
  • Matters concerning your business
  • Some child care arrangements
  • Helping with some other estate planning matters

While a Durable Power of Attorney is essential to just about everyone’s estate planning, there are some instances in which a Power of Attorney may not be effective. A Power of Attorney is automatically cancelled and ineffective upon death of the Grantor as well as in the event  a Guardian is ever appointed for the Grantor by a court. In addition, a Durable Power of Attorney is not effective to make medical decisions, as that must be done pursuant to a Healthcare Surrogate form, or in the case of life support, a Living Will. It is also worth noting that a Durable Power of Attorney does not create a joint bank account if the Attorney in Fact is listed on the account only as the “POA” and not as a joint owner.  

A Durable Power of Attorney, when properly prepared and executed, can be a very powerful planning tool. Improperly prepared, it can create a real legal mess. That is why it is so important to have your estate planning documents prepared by an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. We always offer a free ½ hour initial in office estate planning consultation. Our goal at David P. Folkenflik, P.A. is to provide you with friendly, prompt, and competent legal services at an affordable cost.

The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice as that can only be given by a direct consultation with the attorney after having reviewed your entire matter and relevant documentation. Actual terms and conditions of representation will be contained in the Representation Agreement.

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