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Debunking Myths About Powers Of Attorney


Powers of attorney are a fundamental component of any estate plan, but many Floridians do not fully grasp their role and function. A power of attorney is a document executed by a person,  known as the principal, who names a another person to serve as agent and handle decision-making under specifically designated circumstances. These documents are used for a wide array of purposes, but there are specific rules about how powers of attorney operate in the context of estate planning.

Because of the overlap into multiple areas, there are many misconceptions about powers of attorney. Confusion about how they operate and limitations on the agent’s authority leads some people to avoid the conversation altogether. You can trust a Dade City powers of attorney lawyer, though it is helpful to debunk some myths.

They can be used  even after the death the death of the principal. 

This is one of the BIGGEST misconceptions about powers of attorney. Once the principal dies, the agent no longer may use the power of attorney, This means that they can not write checks, or tend to your affairs upon your death. The primary purpose of a power of attorney is to grant another person the ability to attend to your affairs with your money when you are alive but unable to do so.  They are not to be used as a way to bypass probate.  Without a power of attorney, your loved ones will need to go to court and request the judge to appoint a guardian to handle your affairs. 

You just need one power of attorney 

A well-developed estate plan will include two formats:

  1. With a durable power of attorney, you name an agent to manage your money, real estate, personal property, and other assets.
  2. A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is the term Florida uses to refer to a power of attorney for medical purposes. Your agent will have the power to address medical treatment, determine your living arrangements, apply for benefits, and many other tasks if you are unable to make those decisions.  

A power of attorney requires court approval 

The whole point of these documents is to avoid court, so there is no additional legal action necessary to make a power of attorney effective. You are required to follow instructions on execution, having witnesses observe the signing process, and getting notarization of signatures. 

The agent’s powers are unlimited 

With both a durable power of attorney and a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, you have control over your agent’s authority. You can include instructions that apply to specific situations, such as what types of life-sustaining treatment should be provided for a terminal medical condition. Note that your agent in a durable power of attorney cannot make changes to your will, and there are limitations on altering a trust that you create.

A Dade City Powers of Attorney Lawyer Will Clear Up Confusion 

A Designation of Healthcare Surrogate and Durable Power of Attorney are just as important to your estate plan as your will or trust, so it is essential that you not let these myths stand in the way. For additional details and assistance with document preparation, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. Individuals in Pasco County can call 352-567-0055 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a consultation with a skilled attorney.



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