Should You Serve as Someone’s Power of Attorney?

Should You Serve as Someone’s Power of Attorney?

Perhaps a family member or close friend has asked to name you to be their agent under a power of attorney. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but you’re not sure what your responsibilities would be. Before you say ‘yes,’ here are some things you should know about serving as someone’s agent under a power of attorney.

A power of attorney enables one person (the “principal”) to name another person (the “agent”) to make decisions or act for them. In Florida, a power of attorney may become effective as soon as the principal signs the document. An attorney experienced with estate planning and power of attorney documents should advise you about the preparation and use of a power of attorney.

There are several types of power of attorney forms.

  • Durable Power of Attorney – grants the power to handle your financial affairs.
  • Medical Power of Attorney – grants the power to make decisions about your medical treatment.
  • Limited Power of Attorney – grants limited power for a specific decision or time period.

As you can see, the agent’s duties will be determined by the power of attorney document.

According to Florida law, the agent’s duties include “acting within the scope of authority granted in the power of attorney.” The law also notes that the agent should act for the principal based on his or her knowledge of the “principal’s expectations actually known by the agent.”

Who Can Serve as Agent?

The Florida Power of Attorney Act states that the agent “must be a natural person who is 18 years of age or older or a financial institution that has trust powers, has a place of business in this state, and is authorized to conduct trust business in this state.” So, if you are over the age of 18, you are eligible to serve.

As noted above, agents are expected to act as they think the principal would act, if known. Take time to learn your friend or family member’s beliefs about things like health care, business, and personal property.

Should you serve? That depends on your relationship with the person asking you to serve and your willingness to act on that person’s behalf.

Call to Action

If you have questions about serving as an agent for another person, please contact us at 772-324-9050 or by using our Contact Form. We are pleased to help you with your legal concerns. Located in Palm City, we also serve surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.

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