In the realm of legal and financial matters, having a solid Florida estate plan in place is paramount. A crucial component of any comprehensive estate plan is a durable power of attorney. This vital document bestows the legal authority upon a trusted agent to make important decisions on behalf of the principal, especially in circumstances when they are unable to act or are absent. 

Whether it is granting the power to take action on real estate transactions while the principal is out of town or making critical choices when the principal is incapacitated, the durable power of attorney serves as a lifeline in ensuring that affairs are managed efficiently and effectively. By understanding its significance and taking proactive steps to establish one, individuals can safeguard their interests and gain peace of mind in navigating uncertain situations.

What are a few of the key provisions that need to be in your durable power of attorney? Let us share several key provisions with you right here in our blog.

1. Long-term care planning provisions. One of the most important provisions to have in your power of attorney is one that grants power to your agent over all long-term care planning considerations. Typically, if someone requires long-term care, they will be unable to make decisions for themselves. This provision grants your agent the ability to not only find the right long-term care facility for you, should the time come, but to work with a Florida elder law attorney to find a way to pay for the care you need.

2. Real estate provisions. Your agent should also have the ability to care for your home and any real property you own. For example, if your house needs to be sold or rented, your agent will be able to arrange this. Your agent should also have the authority to maintain insurance, make improvements, perform maintenance, and any of the responsibilities of home ownership that you would normally have performed. 

3. Gifting provisions. If you are in the regular habit of making financial gifts to family members, churches, or charities, you may want your agent to continue this practice. This ability will need to be provided in your durable power of attorney. Discuss with your attorney all the ways gifting opportunities could be a part of your durable power of attorney and discuss the pros and cons, especially when it comes to long-term care planning

4. Financial and banking provisions. These include, but are not limited to, the authority to manage financial accounts, make deposits and withdrawals, pay bills, file taxes, handle investments, and conduct financial transactions on behalf of the principal. You will want your agent to have the ability to act as you would when it comes to your finances. 

5. Digital and online provisions. The world is rapidly changing when it comes to digital technology. Check your durable power of attorney to ensure that it gives your agent the authority to access and manage your digital assets. This could include, but not be limited to, financial online accounts, entertainment accounts, and social media profiles.

6. Durability provisions. Unfortunately, your power of attorney will not be able to be used when you are incapacitated if it does not have a durability provision. Carefully review your power of attorney to ensure there is a provision providing for your agent to act in your place should you be unable to. If this clause is not in your power of attorney you will want to discuss this with your elder law attorney as soon as possible.

We know this article may raise more questions that it answers.  We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.