Orlando FL Power of Attorney

Secure Your Future with a Power of Attorney

Sometimes, you may need someone you trust to make decisions for you when you can’t do it yourself. That might be because you’re sick, traveling, or unable to handle your affairs. A legal document, called a Power of Attorney (POA), allows you to choose someone to make these crucial decisions for you. If you need help setting up a POA, consulting with an Orlando FL Power of Attorney attorney can ensure everything is done correctly and according to Florida law.

It’s critical to understand how a Power of Attorney works because Florida has specific rules about how these documents should be written and used. This article will explain the different types of POAs you can use, what you need to do to create a POA, what responsibilities the person you choose will have, and other necessary things to consider.

Quick Summary:

  • A Power of Attorney (POA) lets someone you trust make decisions for you if you can’t. This person, called your “attorney-in-fact” or “agent,” doesn’t need to be a lawyer. They can be a family member or friend who handles your finances or medical care.
  • You can create different types of POAs based on your needs. For instance, you might need a specific task handled while you’re away, or you might want someone to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself.
  • A durable POA stays effective even if you become incapacitated. It’s recommended for almost everyone to prepare for unexpected events.
  • Your agent should be someone you trust and who lives nearby for tasks that need in-person handling. If married, it’s often best to name your spouse or someone you both trust.
  • In Florida, the person creating the POA must be mentally competent, and the document must be signed by two witnesses and acknowledged by a notary public.
  • You can create your own POA using Florida-specific forms available from the state government or through guided software programs. You’ll appoint an agent and specify the powers you want to grant them.
  • A POA ends upon your death, if you revoke it while mentally competent, if no agent is available (consider naming a successor), or if a court declares it invalid. In Florida, divorce suspends an ex-spouse’s authority as an agent.

Whether you’re planning for the future, helping a family member, or want to know more about your options, this guide will help you understand the basics of a Power of Attorney in Orlando, Florida.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is an easy way to let someone you trust make decisions for you. This person, called your “attorney-in-fact” (or just “agent”), doesn’t have to be a lawyer. You can pick anyone you trust, like a family member or friend, to handle your finances or medical care.

What Type of POA Should I Make?

POAs can be used for many different situations. You might set up a POA for a specific task, like giving your brother the authority to sell your car while you’re out of town. Alternatively, you might create a long-term, “durable” POA that allows someone to manage your financial or health matters if you become unable to do so yourself.

  • Durable POA: Creating a durable POA is advisable for almost everyone, regardless of age or health status. A durable POA remains effective even if you become incapacitated, helping you prepare for unexpected events. Most estate plans include two types of durable POAs, which are explained below.
    • Durable POA for Finances: A financial POA authorizes your agent to handle your financial affairs when you are no longer able to. That could include depositing your Social Security checks, filing your taxes, or managing your retirement account.
    • Durable POA for Health Care:  A medical or health care POA allows an agent to decide about your medical care. This document is known by various names, such as “health care proxy,” “health care directive,” or “advance directive.” Some states combine this with a “living will,” which specifies your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care.
  • Non-Durable (Limited or Special) POA: In contrast, a non-durable POA ends if you become incapacitated. This POA type is usually limited to specific tasks or a short period. For instance, if you need your friend to manage your financial matters while you recover from surgery, a non-durable POA would suffice. In short, it has an end date.
  • Springing POA: A springing POA only becomes effective after a specific event occurs. Some people prefer a springing durable financial POA that activates when they are declared incapacitated. However, this POA type can have logistical issues. Generally, it’s better to establish a durable financial POA, select a trustworthy agent, and instruct them to use it only if you become incapacitated.

Why Do I Need to Establish a POA?

Even though a POA lets someone else make choices for you, it ultimately empowers you. By choosing the right POA, you get to decide things now that will be followed later, even if you can’t make those decisions yourself in the future. 

It can also prevent family arguments by clearly outlining your wishes if you become incapacitated, giving you peace of mind knowing things will be handled according to your preferences.

How Do I Choose an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact?

Almost any responsible adult can be your agent. They don’t need to be a financial whiz, but honesty and your complete trust are crucial.

  • Location matters: Ideally, choose someone close by for tasks that need in-person handling (like checking mail or visiting the bank).
  • Married?: Naming your spouse avoids conflicts over shared property. If not possible, choose someone both of you trust.
  • One is best: Appointing a single agent reduces confusion. Consider an alternate if your first choice can’t serve.
  • Health Care POA: Different considerations apply here. Some states even restrict who can be your agent (health care proxy or surrogate). In Florida, your healthcare surrogate may not be a witness to the document naming your healthcare representative.

Before finalizing the POA, talk to your chosen agent. It might be a tough conversation, but ensure they understand the responsibilities and are willing to take them on.

What are the Legal Requirements of a Financial POA in Florida?

Here are the requirements for a valid power of attorney in Florida:

  • Mental capacity: The person creating the POA must be mentally competent, meaning they understand the significance of the document. If you’re unsure about someone’s mental capacity, it’s best to consult with an estate planning attorney.
  • Witnesses and notary: The POA must be signed by two witnesses and acknowledged by a notary public.

How Do I Create a POA?

You can create your POA, but it must be valid under Florida law. You can get Florida-specific POA forms through private companies or software programs that guide you through the process. When setting up a POA, you’ll appoint an agent (and possibly an alternate agent) and specify the powers you wish to grant them by checking or initializing the appropriate options.

Financial POA Powers

For a financial POA, these powers might include:

  • Filing and paying your taxes
  • Collecting benefits from Social Security, Medicare, or other government programs
  • Handling transactions with banks and other financial institutions
  • Managing your retirement accounts
  • Buying, selling, or leasing real estate on your behalf

Health Care POA Powers

For a healthcare POA, the powers might include:

  • Withdrawing life-prolonging procedures when you are near death
  • Authorizing organ, tissue, or body donation
  • Deciding on the disposition of your remains

Signatures, Notarization, and Witnessing

To complete your POA, you need to sign the document. Additionally, you might need to:

  • Sign the POA in front of a notary public
  • Sign the POA in the presence of two witnesses
  • Sign the POA in front of both a notary public and two witnesses

Distributing and Storing Your POA

After completing your POA, give your agent a copy and store the original in a safe, accessible place for your loved ones. If your financial POA includes the power to handle real estate transactions, file a copy with the land records office in the county where you own property. For a healthcare POA, provide copies to your doctors or the medical facilities where you are most likely to receive treatment.

When Does My Power of Attorney End?

A POA automatically ends upon your death. It also ends if:

  • You revoke it: You can revoke your POA at any time as long as you are mentally competent.
  • No agent is available: To avoid this situation, you can name a successor (alternate) agent in your document.
  • A court invalidates it: Though rare, a court can declare your POA invalid if it determines you were not mentally competent when you signed it or if you were a victim of fraud or undue influence.
  • Divorce (specific to Florida): If you named your ex-spouse as your agent, their authority to act under the POA is suspended if you or your spouse file for divorce.

Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney Attorney in  Orlando, FL?

An Orlando FL Power of Attorney attorney can be helpful for several reasons, even though a POA itself is a relatively simple document:

  • Ensuring Validity in Florida: Florida has specific requirements for a POA to be valid, including the grantor’s mental capacity and proper witnessing and notarization. An attorney can ensure your POA meets these requirements to avoid future complications.
  • Choosing the Right POA for Your Situation: Different types of POAs exist for distinct situations. An attorney can advise you on the best POA type for your needs, whether it’s managing finances during a vacation or handling healthcare decisions if incapacitated.
  • Selecting the Right Agent: Your POA agent has significant power to act on your behalf. An attorney can guide you in choosing a trustworthy and responsible agent who aligns with your wishes.
  • Addressing Complexities: If your situation involves many properties, blended families, or complicated financial holdings, an attorney can help navigate these complexities and draft a POA that accurately reflects your desires.
  • Peace of Mind: An Orlando attorney handling estate planning can give you peace of mind by ensuring your POA is legally sound and effectively conveys your wishes. That can prevent future conflicts and ensure your affairs are handled according to your preferences.

In essence, an Orlando Power of Attorney attorney can provide legal help to create a durable POA that protects your interests and gives you peace of mind. While not always necessary for a basic POA, an attorney’s guidance can be valuable for ensuring your POA is valid, comprehensive, and addresses your specific needs.

Call our Orlando FL Power of Attorney Attorney Now!

Understanding the Power of Attorney in Orlando, Florida, is crucial for ensuring your wishes are respected when you can’t make decisions yourself. From picking someone you trust to handle your affairs to following the legal rules, it’s necessary to get it right.

If you’re thinking about setting up a POA, updating one you already have, or simply have questions, Tejes Law, PLLC can help. Our legal team knows all about this and can give you advice that fits your situation perfectly.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to sort out your affairs. Contact our Power of Attorney attorney today for a free consultation about what you need. It could make a big difference for your future peace of mind. Let’s make sure you’re taken care of, no matter what happens.

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