Executing a power of attorney document may well be one of the most important things you can do to protect your future. Selecting a power of attorney allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to act for yourself. If you don’t have a power of attorney and become incapacitated, your family may be left without a way to act for you, which could require court intervention or even the imposition of a guardianship.
Rather than worrying about someone you may not trust taking control of your assets, we recommend executing a power of attorney document in advance in order to eliminate stress and worry before it ever even starts.
Here at Family Elder Law, we’ve helped hundreds of people with estate planning and elder law. Getting your affairs in order with the help of a professional provides peace of mind for all the years ahead.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legal agreement, whereby you (the principal) designate another person (the agent) to make decisions about your day-to-day affairs and belongings.
Florida has very specific rules regarding power of attorney documents, and to be effective, a power of attorney has to be in writing, signed, dated, and executed correctly, with the proper legal language, among other requirements. If your power of attorney document does not meet all statutory requirements, it may not be enforceable and won’t be part of your estate planning in the ways you had hoped. There are several different types of power of attorney. A few include:
- Durable power of attorney: The durable power of attorney will stay in place even if the principal becomes incapacitated, so it’s very important that they choose someone they can fully trust.
- Special or limited power of attorney: As the name suggests, this type of power of attorney is only for a particular act, that is designated in the document. It can’t be extended to other areas of life.
Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship
A power of attorney is less expensive than a guardianship. Another point in its favor is that you choose who you want to act for you, if you become incapacitated. In a guardianship, the court chooses for you, and it may not be someone you would have chosen for that role.
Power of Attorney Responsibilities
The responsibilities that come along with being someone’s power of attorney are varied, which is why proper estate planning with an elder law attorney is so important. It is crucial for you to understand exactly what powers you’re conveying to the agent you’re choosing.
You also want to be sure the agent understands their role and responsibilities in case being your power of attorney isn’t something they want to take on. In some cases, they may refuse, and you will need to choose someone else.
How Can a Family Create a Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent?
The best way for a family to create a power of attorney for an elderly parent is to start with that parent’s wishes, which will ultimately control. If you’re the parent, you also want to make sure you’re conveying your wishes to your children, so they can work with you on the right level of support for your power of attorney needs.
Once everyone has discussed wishes and goals, the next step is to make sure the designated agent agrees to that role, and then work with a legal professional to draw up the proper paperwork. Then you can sit back and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected for the future.
How Much Does a Power of Attorney Cost in Florida?
The cost of executing a power of attorney document can depend on the specifics of the document you want created, as well as the legal professional you work with. Often, the power of attorney document is just one document in a series that are designed to cover all of your estate planning needs.
Protect Your Future With a Power of Attorney
You don’t need to let the stress of an uncertain future hang over your head. Instead, trust your future to a firm who specializes in estate planning–like the team at Family Elder Law. You can work with trusted professionals to make sure you have the right power of attorney document for your needs. Reach out to us today, and let us help you find the right options and create the legal paperwork for your security and peace of mind.