A Florida Durable Power of Attorney is an important part of your estate plan. This legal document gives control over who will manage your property during periods of lifetime incapacity.
Recent changes to the Florida Power of Attorney statute make this an excellent time to re-evaluate and possibly update existing powers of attorneys.
A Power of Attorney is a powerful document. People create these documents to ensure continuity of their financial affairs in the event of future incapacity, naming trusted family members, friends, or professional fiduciaries who can step in to manage what is needed.
Unfortunately, these individuals can and do, sometimes abuse their authority. Updating your Power of Attorney can give you additional protections.
First, who is your designated agent? Is this person still the person that you trust the most? Have you named a successor agent in case your named agent is unwilling or unable to serve?
Second, the new Florida Power of Attorney gives added protections for the Principal (the person creating the document) by requiring the Principal to specifically grant or withhold certain powers. For example, if you are creating a Power of Attorney under the new law, you can decide whether or not to allow your agent to make gifts, or change beneficiary designations on your accounts.
If you created a Power of Attorney under the old law, your document is still in effect. However, since the new law includes many advantages over the previous one, it is a good idea to create a new one to obtain the added protections under the new law.