Do you have a Florida durable power of attorney? You may have been told you need to make this estate planning decision as soon as possible, but may not understand why. It is important for you to understand what your power of attorney can do for you and the responsibilities of the agent you choose to act on your behalf.
When it comes to choosing your agent for your power of attorney, there are many important questions to ask. This is a detailed process, that involves much thought about what you want now, in the future and even long after you are gone. You want to have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of this role before making your choicee.
Once you have worked with your attorney to create your power of attorney, you may be wondering, what exactly can my agent under this document do for me?The person who represents you as your agent under your power of attorney has the authority to make decisions for you as you would do. This includes, but is not limited to, paying your bills, managing your assets, and making health care decisions for you. The intent is for your agent to be able to act when you are incapable of doing so, perhaps due to a tragic accident or health crisis reasons, but under Florida law your agent can act once the estate planning document is signed. In order for a Florida power of attorney to be used when you are incapacitated, however, it needs to be a durable power of attorney.
If you are unable to choose just one person as your power of attorney, you can choose two people to work together on your behalf. Keep in mind these people may need to work together in a crisis, if you require it, so decide if joint decision-making is right for you. A common issue we see for our clients is that they have more than one child, they feel the need to list both children as their agents under their power of attorney to avoid conflict, but sometimes this can create more harm than good. There can be arguments or disagreements amongst two people, while with one person it is unlikely this will be the case. Make sure you make the best choice for you, take precautions to make sure your wishes are honored and speak with your attorney before making a final decision.
Deciding who to name as your power of attorney is an important decision but it doesn’t have to be a hard process. Work with an estate planning attorney you trust who has experience with these issues and can help you understand what the responsibilities of your agent will be. Don’t wait to contact us to schedule a meeting with Allen on this importance of creating the right Florida durable power of attorney for you as a part of your comprehensive estate plan.