A Power of Attorney is a commonly-used legal document that enables one person to delegate powers or legal authority to another person. The person creating the Power of Attorney, or the document’s “principal” uses it to grant another person the right to act on their behalf. The document can be written broadly or with very specific authority granted. People routinely request these documents in the event of a medical or business emergency so that items may be purchased or accounts accessed that would otherwise be denied. Someone who has been given “Power of Attorney” may use it to buy or sell a house or other property, as well as, purchase a vehicle or withdraw from a financial institution. A Power of Attorney enables the person granted this authority to do those legal acts that the maker of the document was capable of doing, which includes even creating a living trust.
A Power of Attorney must only be signed by the “principal” (maker of the document) who is designating the authority and two witnesses. Moreover, there must also be a notary present at the signing for this to be considered a valid document under the laws of the State of Florida. The State of Florida makes exceptions for those who have had theirs created under another state’s law or for military personnel.
The three main types of a Power of Attorney are:
• A Limited Power of Attorney, which gives the agent specific authority to act on his or her behalf, such as selling a car or home.
• A General Power of Attorney, this enables the agent to do all legal acts on the principal’s behalf with a list of activities he or she is allowed to perform included in the document.
• A Durable Power of Attorney is different in that it allows the agent to handle affairs of the principal even if the principal should become incapacitated.
For more information about Powers of Attorney, please refer to the Florida Legal Statutes.
It is important to have an attorney draft a Power of Attorney for you in order to protect yourself from many gross errors. Some of those errors could be: incorrect execution of the document, mistakes in statutory language, undue influence concerns, etc.
Creating a Durable Power of Attorney while you are of sound mind can save those around you from jumping through difficult hoops. Call us today for a free consultation.