Durable Power of Attorney
Gary L. White, Esq.
A durable Power of Attorney empowers a trusted person to manage your finances and other affairs if you become unable.
– WHAT IS POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a legal document you may use to appoint an “agent” to conduct financial and other business on your behalf. Under Florida law, the agent has a fiduciary duty, which means that your appointed agent is bound to act in your best interests rather than their own.
A Power of Attorney may be limited or general. A limited Power of Attorney delegates one or more specific powers to the agent, such as the authority to sell a certain piece of real estate on behalf of the principal. A general Power of Attorney conveys more broad-based authority but must spell out each of the powers delegated.
HOW IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY DIFFERENT?
A Durable Power of Attorney differs from other Florida powers of attorney in one critical way: it does not terminate if the principal becomes incapacitated. Thus, a Durable Power of Attorney is required if the principal intends to provide a trusted person with decision-making power if the principal becomes unable to manage their own affairs.
For example, a Durable Power of Attorney could enable the agent to manage investments, pay the principal’s bills from the principal’s accounts, register and insure vehicles, and otherwise maintain their property and obligations while the principal is incapacitated.
Failure to plan for incapacity can have catastrophic results, as family members may be unable to protect the incapacitated person’s property and interests unless and until they obtain a court order.
PROTECT YOURSELF WITH A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY TODAY!
The danger of incapacity is that it typically strikes suddenly. Most of us don’t like to think about the possibility of a serious accident or sudden illness leaving us unable to make decisions. Unfortunately, when the worst happens, it is too late to make plans. A Durable Power of Attorney is a simple, efficient way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
This advance planning will be particularly important if you become incapacitated and require long-term care. Not every Durable Power of Attorney will enable your agent to apply for Medicaid assistance on your behalf, or to engage in the type of strategic planning required to qualify for Medicaid without impoverishing your family.