A power of attorney is a legal document that allows one person to act on behalf of another. These documents might be used to transact business, make healthcare decisions, or perform any other action that is authorized.
Medical powers of attorney are often important in estate planning. Also known as a designation of health care surrogate, these documents allow another person to make medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated.
If you need to create a power of attorney, contact a Palm City power of attorney lawyer. An attorney familiar with drafting power of attorney documents can assist you with implementing and executing a comprehensive version that meets your needs in Martin County.
Florida’s requirements for a valid durable power of attorney (DPOA) are more stringent than many other states. While Florida courts will often recognize some DPOAs created in another location, people who want to be sure about the document’s sufficiency should consult with a lawyer experienced with powers of attorney in Martin County.
To be valid in Florida, a DPOA must be in writing, signed by the principal—the person who created it—and witnessed by two people and a notary. If the principal cannot sign their own name, the notary present may sign for them at the principal’s direction.
By signing the DPOA document, the principal gives their decision-making power or authority to an agent. It is recommended that principals nominate an adult who is both competent and has the best wishes of the principal in mind.
An agent may only perform actions that are detailed in the power of attorney or are necessary to accomplish those actions. Depending on the type of POA, an agent might only be allowed to perform a specific task—like sell a piece of real estate—or could be authorized to take any almost action that the principal could themselves.
Importantly, a principal could name several people as agents. Because of this, the agents could act independently of each other unless the POA requires agreement. For instance, a person may name their spouse and their children as agents in a medical power of attorney.
An agent must act in a way that preserves the value of the principal’s estate and promotes the principal’s interests. If the agent causes unauthorized or unnecessary losses to the principal’s estate, that person could be sued for damages as explained in Florida’s Power of Attorney Act found in Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes. An attorney in Palm City can provide further clarification about the nuances of this act.
One of the most common types of powers of attorney in estate planning is a designation of health care surrogate. This document is also sometimes referred to as a medical power of attorney that allows an agent to make health care decisions on another person’s behalf if the principal is incompetent or incapacitated.
The health care surrogate may have to make decisions such as approving surgery or removing life support. Because these decisions are of such a serious nature, it is important for principals to inform their agents of their wishes while they are healthy.
Creating a power of attorney may save your loved ones time and stress if you are injured or incapacitated in Martin County. These documents can help you protect your financial interests and personal wishes in times of crisis. Contact a Palm City power of attorney lawyer and schedule a meeting today to learn more about your options.