Florida Power of Attorney: Guide and Requirements

Florida allows different kinds of powers of attorney.
Roberta Pescow
By Roberta Pescow 
Published
Edited by Tina Orem

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A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that gives someone else (called your agent or attorney in fact) authority to make decisions or take action on your behalf. You must be at least 18, of sound mind and have witnesses to create a Florida power of attorney.

If you're considering creating a power of attorney in Florida, here’s what you need to know.

Types of Florida power of attorney

Florida recognizes several different types of POAs:

  • Designation of health care surrogate: This is what other states may call a medical POA or a healthcare POA. It allows your health care proxy or agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so.

  • General power of attorney/financial power of attorney: This allows someone else to make decisions and take actions regarding your finances or business affairs. For example, your agent might pay your bills for you or handle your banking.

  • Florida real estate power of attorney: This is a limited POA that authorizes your agent to buy or sell property for you.

  • Florida Department of Revenue POA: This gives your agent the right to access your taxpayer information and handle tax matters on your behalf

    Florida Department of Revenue. Form DR-835. Accessed Mar 22, 2023.
    .

Additionally, a Florida power of attorney may fall into one or more of these subcategories:

  • Durable power of attorney: With a durable power or attorney, your agent retains authority even if you become incapacitated. Florida POAs aren’t durable by default. To become durable, your power of attorney must contain the following words or something similar: “This durable power of attorney is not terminated by subsequent incapacity of the principal except as provided in chapter 709, Florida Statutes”

    Florida Statute 709.2014. Durable Power of Attorney. Accessed Mar 22, 2023.
    . Talk with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure the wording is exactly correct and enforceable in Florida.

  • Special or limited power of attorney: This gives the agent authority to take action on your behalf for a limited time or specific purpose, such as taking care of your banking while you’re traveling.

  • Springing power of attorney: This power of attorney doesn’t become effective until/unless its creator (principal) becomes incapacitated. Springing powers of attorney are generally no longer allowed in Florida; however, springing POAs made prior to Oct. 1, 2011 may remain valid

    .

Florida POA requirements

In order to create a power of attorney in Florida, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.

  • You must be of sound mind as interpreted by the Florida court system.

  • Your chosen agent (or agents) must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.

  • Your POA must be signed by two competent adult witnesses and a notary public. (Military powers of attorney may have different rules about this.) Consider ensuring that your witnesses are “disinterested,” which means they’re not a family member, your agent, your doctor or other medical caregiver, or a beneficiary (someone who will inherit something from you or have a claim on your assets after you die)

    The Florida Bar. Consumer Pamphlet: Florida Power of Attorney. Accessed Mar 22, 2023.
    .

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How to create a power of attorney in Florida

1. Create your official document. You can work with an attorney, use estate planning software or download forms from the state of Florida. Select your agent and indicate when they can act on your behalf. Include this information in your document.

2. Sign your POA with the required notary and witnesses present. Have two disinterested witnesses for a designation of health care surrogate, or two witnesses plus a notary public present for any other POA. You, your witnesses and (if required) your notary all need to sign this document.

3. Store your document in a safe place with your other estate planning documents. Tell your agent where the original is and give your agent a copy. 

4. Provide a copy of your POA to other relevant parties. You may want to give a copy to your medical caregivers and financial institutions, for example. If your POA involves real estate transactions, file a copy with your land records office, which in Florida is known as the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller's office.

What are the power of attorney requirements in my state?

See the requirements for creating a valid power of attorney in these states:

Frequently asked questions

If you take the DIY route, you can download free forms from the state of Florida’s website (you pay the notary fee). If you want to create a POA online, estate planning software may help. The cost of hiring an estate planning attorney to draft your POA varies by lawyer.

Unless your POA specifically states otherwise, it will become effective as soon as it’s signed and witnessed.

If you want someone else to be able to access your tax information or handle tax matters for you, a Florida Department of Revenue power of attorney should help.

In Florida, a power of attorney terminates when:

  • You revoke it.

  • The purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished.

  • The agent’s authority terminates and you haven’t named an alternate agent.

  • A court terminates it.

  • You die.

  • Your power of attorney isn’t durable and you become incapacitated.

Yes. Your agent is expected to act in your best interests and fulfill your wishes to the best of their abilities.

Yes. Under a Florida POA, your agent isn’t allowed to:

  • Vote in your place in a public election.

  • Create or revoke a will on your behalf.

  • Act in your place as a guardian, trustee or conservator.

  • Practice law (unless also a member of the Florida Bar).

  • Sign an official statement saying that you have knowledge of specific facts (such as if you witnessed a crime).

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