Florida Power of Attorney: Guide and Requirements
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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.
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”. 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.
» MORE: How to avoid probate
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).
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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: