How to Make a Power of Attorney in Florida?
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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Florida?

What's a power of attorney in Florida? What's the purpose of a power of attorney? This article discusses the process of a power of attorney and how this document can help protect you and your loved ones! Keep reading to learn more!

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If you want to make a financial power of attorney for yourself or for an elderly parent in the Sunshine State, this article will explain the process and what it covers. 

What is a Power of Attorney in Florida?

A Power of Attorney, or POA, is a legal document that designates who acts on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated. Florida residents use a POA for real estate transactions and other financial decisions; however, it's also commonly used for medical affairs as well. A POA used for healthcare decisions is known as a "designation of health care surrogate" within the state.  This law is found in Florida Statutes, Section 765.202. The person making the POA is called the "principal," and they grant decision-making power to another person, who is known as an "agent."

What is a Power of Attorney Used For?

A POA can be used to give someone else the right to act legally on your behalf. For example, if you are overseas, you could give your POA the right to sell your car or home on your behalf. Another common scenario is when an elderly parent gives their child a POA to make contracts, healthcare decisions, or financial decisions.  

Who Can Be an Agent for a Florida Power of Attorney?

The Florida Statutes govern who is qualified to be an agent for purposes of a Florida Power of Attorney:

 709.2105 Qualifications of agent; execution of power of attorney.—

(1) The agent must be a natural person who is 18 years of age or older or a financial institution that has trust powers, has a place of business in this state, and is authorized to conduct trust business in this state.

(2) A power of attorney must be signed by the principal and by two subscribing witnesses and be acknowledged by the principal before a notary public or as otherwise provided in s. 695.03.

(3) If the principal is physically unable to sign the power of attorney, the notary public before whom the principal’s oath or acknowledgment is made may sign the principal’s name on the power of attorney pursuant to s. 117.05(14).

So, in summary, the agent has to be at least 18 years old, and the POA must have been signed in the presence of two witnesses. Ideally, the agent will not be one of the witnesses. A bank or a trust may also act as an agent.

How Long Does a Power of Attorney in Florida Last?

The person drafting the POA can give it a firm expiration date, or it can be open-ended. To understand how this works, you should know that there are three basic kinds of POAs in Florida.

Durable Power of Attorney:  A Durable POA is when the agent's authority to act continues if the principal becomes incapacitated. That means if the principal becomes sick and is in a coma, then the agent will continue to handle the affairs listed in the POA. If there is no expiration date on the POA, most Florida courts will consider it as a durable or open-ended, document.

Non-Durable Power of Attorney: If there is a non-durable POA, the agent’s authority to act ends when the person becomes incapacitated. So using our example of the principal falling into a coma, if the POA is non-durable, then the agent will no longer have the right to act on the principal's behalf. Non-durable POAs don't have much significance in estate planning. A non-durable POA is more common in other circumstances, such as when a service member is deployed overseas, and give their agent the right to complete a real estate sale while they are away.  

Springing Power of Attorney:  A POA is said to be "springing" when the principal gives the agent authority only when a certain condition is triggered. The agent has no power until that condition is met.  

What is a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate?

Florida law allows for the creation of a medical power of attorney, which the state refers to as a “designation of health care surrogate." This document gives your agent the right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. To make a medical POA in Florida, you must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses. At least one of your witnesses must not be related to you.

Can You Make a Power of Attorney Online?

You can use FastWill to make a Power of Attorney in Florida when you create your Last Will and Testament online. Our service relies on state-specific law and AI to create a customized final document for your needs. 

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