Power of attorney.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that lets someone else speak for another person in their absence, either of person or mind; this document allows another person (attorney-in-fact) to sign documents or conduct business transactions on another person’s (principal) behalf in business matters and in health matters.
In simple terms, every day reasons for setting up a power of attorney could be
- to make sure a real estate transaction in another state goes through without a property owner’s physical presence,
- to assure steady cash flow and timely bill payment in a household, or access for unplanned emergent events if someone is unavailable out of the country for a period of time,
- for health-related issues where a person is incapacitated and they need someone to speak on their behalf as it pertains to the type of medical treatment they want or reject,
- related to children who are staying with a friend or relative for an extended period of time and an emergent event occurs where someone has to make a timely decision regarding their health or activities.
When writing up a will or planning an estate, a durable power of attorney document will be discussed regarding financial power that gives friends or family members the right to conduct financial transactions on someone else’s behalf, especially if they are sick or deceased.
POA formal execution.
The principal must sign the POA in front of a notary public and two witnesses in the State of Florida, the notary can be considered one of the witnesses. Legally executed POAs from another state are considered legal documents in Florida, and under some circumstances a third party may request legal counsel to make sure a document is valid and properly executed.
A third party is a person or formal entity that engages in business with the attorney-in-fact on behalf of the principal. Some third parties are reluctant to do business with an agent instead of the principal and can be forced to act so as not to cost the principal money or other damages or they will be held legally responsible losses. If a third party is reluctant to conduct business, the State of Florida requires them to write down a valid reason for objecting to requests from the POA, if a third party is a financial institution, they have four days to act.
Florida POA rule updates 10/11.
Florida rule changes for POA began in October of 2011 reflecting simplicity in accepting emailed or faxed copies for use in transactions,but originals must be filed with the county regarding real estate transactions; multiple agents of the POA can act independently of each other unless it is specifically outlined that they cannot; POAs are effective immediately upon signing; and divorce terminates spousal authority to act as an agent for the principal.
Seek legal counsel.
Power of attorney instruments can be used for a variety of important life transactions especially with regard to estate planning, and are best drafted with the assistance of legal professionals who understand how detailed documents should be to effectively protect the interests of the principal.
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