Power of Attorney Lawyer in Pensacola, Florida
The legal process of asset distribution and estate planning after someone’s death is a challenge that a lot of citizens try to disregard. But sometimes, planning is also a way for us to prevent the burden from falling on our loved ones. One such tool is the power of attorney (POA) which gives everyone the option to choose a different person to act in your stead if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
Why do I need a Power of Attorney in Florida?
While it sounds grim to plan for your own incapacitation, by planning ahead, in a way you are still able to act during that time of need. It is a good way of taking social security properly, and making initiative on issues that might have a larger impact in the future. This is where a power of attorney can come in handy.
Through a Florida power of attorney, an individual can appoint an agent like a loved one or a spouse, to legally act on your behalf for financial decisions and healthcare concerns. In Pensacola, FL, there are multiple requirements needed for proper submission. Our experienced power of attorney lawyer should be able to guide our clients with the legal concerns that they might need to consider.
Types of Powers of Attorney
Different states in the United States have different statutes regarding the power of attorney process. In Florida law, there are different Powers of Attorney possible, depending on the type and concern related to the transaction. This is also connected to the level of authority a granted individual can obtain through a power of attorney. These are especially important in estate planning concerns, as each real estate can have different needs.
- General Power of Attorney: This POA grants the individual a large range of powers to conduct financial capabilities like banking, and real estate management, among others. This type of POA is only used for a certain duration, like a single transaction.
- Limited / Special Power of Attorney: This POA limits the granted individual’s capability on a specific transaction type or transaction time period. This is usually in cases where you just need to grant another person the right to make a one-time transaction.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This POA continues after the incapacitation of the individual. This type of grant is more conclusive, and grants your chosen agent access to all of your financial concerns from the moment of incompetence to your death. This is usually brought up in elder law cases where the individual is incapable of representing themselves due to old age.
- Enhanced Durable Power of Attorney: This type of POA is a special consideration, where the chosen agent is allowed to represent the incapacitated individual in multiple concerns like contract signing, finance handling and government benefits access.
A special type of power of attorney is called the Healthcare or Medical Power of Attorney. It is also called a health care surrogate. Someone designated with a healthcare power of attorney is the individual who would perform extremely important medical decisions on the filer’s behalf if they become incompetent. Given that there are debilitating accidents or personal injury cases that lead to incapacitation, having this type of POA at a young age is a good consideration to let you have a say in your life even after a major injury.
If you are considering any of these setups, our family law lawyers at Northwest Florida are experienced in giving legal advice on multiple POA concerns of our clients.
Fiduciary Responsibility of Agents
Given the gravity of the situation for an appointed agent, they are tasked to have fiduciary responsibility. As part of the Florida statute on POAs, they should follow the guidelines below:
- They are tasked to only do acts under the dictation of a power of attorney. Within this ability, they should only act according to the principal’s goals.
- Their main goal is to preserve the individual’s estate plan as much as possible. This depends on multiple concerns such as; (1) the contents of the estate plan and other related documents such as their living trust, (2) the principal’s will and goals.
- If the agent considers the proper management of their principal’s real estate, they also need to consider processes like investments and asset management. Following this logic, they should also be proactive in being cautious in handling the asset with care.
- If the agent is skilled in finance or law, especially if they are a specialist hired specifically for these skills, they are held to that regard.
- All activities of the agent should be noted down and properly documented. These include correspondences and financial trackers like receipts and statements, real estate files, or medical concerns.
Lastly, agents are tasked to talk to experienced power of attorney lawyers to help them fulfill these duties to their utmost preparedness. Our adept lawyer team at Brightwell Law is willing to assist any principal and/or agent regarding the proper management of a power of attorney.
How to Plan for a Power of Attorney Application
Once the type of power of attorney is determined, the principal should plan afterwards who their agents are going to be. Given how it is an important aspect of a principal’s life, there should always be proper standards when choosing a trusted agent. The chosen against should always be responsible for your best concerns and must advocate on the principal’s behalf on the best of their understanding. Make sure to follow these guidelines to simplify the process of choosing agents for your POA.
- How many people will be your agent/s?
It is possible to choose multiple agents for your power of attorney, and you can also decide if they need to act together or separately in representing you. Multiple agents might allow you to divide medical concerns like personal injury cases, and financial concerns like your revocable living trust management.
On the other hand, multiple agents can bring new issues like conflicts of interest and conflicts in schedule. It is also not advisable to only have one as it is possible that both you and your agent are incapacitated at the same time. A backup attorney-in-fact is a good way of ensuring that no matter the situation, someone will always represent you.
- Which people do you trust?
Given that an agent has control over a part or all of your assets in your incapacity, it is important that you are able to give 100% of your trust to the person. Most of the time, people choose someone like their friends, loved ones, a close organization or membership, or an attorney. Whichever a person chooses, it needs to be someone who will make sure that your best interests are noted, your wishes are respected and the power granted to them isn’t abused. If anyone suspects an attorney-in-fact as an unscrupulous person, proper reporting to the law should be practiced.
Schedule a Consultation with Us!
Given the underlying circumstances related to someone’s incapacitation, people are often afraid of thinking about their loved ones being debilitated in some way. But when an accident occurs, it is best that we are always prepared for the sake of our other loved ones as well. A power of attorney can help anyone prepare for such concerns.
With the help of our experienced power of attorney lawyers in Brightwell Law, your issues with regards to planning a POA can be managed. If you also have concerns with other practice areas like estate planning or probate law, then we are the right law firm to call.
There’s never a wrong time to begin thinking about your power of attorney. Talk to us today and give your trust to our esteemed law firm to help you through our legal services and make it seamless and hassle-free. Schedule a consultation with us to learn how we can help your power of attorney planning!