Most people have heard of a power of attorney, often in medical dramas on TV, but that doesn’t mean that they have a good understanding of what a power of attorney is or how it’s used.
While you can rely on a Florida power of attorney law firm to understand powers of attorney and how they work, we think it’s helpful for people to know what a power of attorney can be used for on their own.
That way you know when you need one and are more likely to remember that having a power of attorney created is an option when having one might be helpful.
That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to power to attorney in Sarasota, Florida. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the different kinds of power of attorney, or contact the Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. if you need to set up a power of attorney here in Sarasota, Florida.
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that can be created to give someone else the authority they need to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf. The exact powers you give someone with power of attorney depends on the kind of power of attorney (POA) you give them, and any other special considerations included in the POA.
You can also control how long a POA is active, and you can different people with different kinds of POA at the same time.
That’s a lot of versatility built in, but also means that making a power of attorney can be a little complicated. It’s best to work with a power of attorney lawyer in Sarasota, Florida to help make sure you don’t accidentally give someone more, or less, power than they need when you create a POA.
Types Of Power Of Attorney
If you want to create a power of attorney, it’s useful to know what kinds of power of attorney are out there and how they work.
The first thing you need to know is the difference between the agent and the principal. In a power of attorney, the principal is the person granting authority, and the agent is the person accepting authority. An agent must be at least 18 years old when the POA is created, and they must agree to be your agent. Potential agents are allowed to say no – but if they accept the responsibility they are required to assume a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interests as principal.
An attorney at your power of attorney law firm in Sarasota, Florida can explain in more detail if needed, but here are the basics:
Limited Power Of Attorney
A limited POA is exactly what it sounds like, a POA where the scope of the powers granted is limited, or where there is a time limit on how long the POA will be active.
For instance, you could use a limited POA to let someone act as your agent in a single financial transaction, or so they could make financial decisions for you for the duration of a vacation.
Limited POA can also be used to grant power of attorney in specific circumstances, but without a time limit. However, these can be tricky because there needs to be a way to verify whether the POA is active or not.
General Power Of Attorney
A general POA is typically the most powerful version of a POA and can be used to give someone broad financial or medical decision-making powers on your behalf. Typically, these are used for financial POA more than medical.
Durable Power Of Attorney
A POA can sometimes stop when the person who created it is incapacitated in some way. A durable POA is still active when you’re incapacitated and is often used for medical POA so the POA can still make medical decisions while you’re incapacitated.
What’s The Difference Between Advance Care Directives And A Durable Power Of Attorney?
One common question power of attorney lawyers often get is what is the difference between an advance care directive and a durable power of attorney.
There are a few important differences you should know, and there are some times when it may be helpful to have both.
An advance care directive outlines specific situations and how they should be handled should you be unable to make decisions for yourself. No one is making decisions for you, you’re making the decisions in advance.
However, advance care directives usually only work if your care providers and loved ones know that you have one, and either know where it is or can find it when they need it.
A durable power of attorney authorizes someone to make decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself.
If you have both advance care directives of a living will and durable power of attorney, you should also decide if your POA requires that your advance care directives are followed, or if your POA can decide to go against the wishes outlined in your advance care directives.
What Happens If I Want To Revoke My Power Of Attorney?
If you created a POA you no longer need, or you want to change who can act as your agent under your power of attorney, you can revoke it. In most cases, all you need to do is file that you’re revoking the POA in writing.
However, in some rare cases, your agent may attempt to prevent you from ending the POA if they think that you are incapable of making the decision and it’s in your best interest to continue having them act as an agent.
While rare, in those situations it can help to have a power of attorney lawyer on your side to make revoking your original POA easier.
How Do Powers Of Attorney End?
There are several different ways a POA can end, and some will end automatically according to the terms of the POA.
A POA ends when:
- The principal revokes the power of attorney in writing.
- The purpose of the POA is completed.
- The time limit on the POA has been reached.
- A court declares the principal incompetent without also declaring that the POA is still active.
- The principal dies.
As a note, #5 also means that your financial POA will not automatically become the executor of your will unless you also make them your executor, not just your financial POA.
Work With A Sarasota, Florida Power Of Attorney Lawyer
If you need a power of attorney, working with a lawyer can help you not only make sure your POA grants your agent the specific powers you need them to have, but also that it’s not too broad or unlimited. Don’t wait until you need to revise an existing POA. Contact the Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. for help creating your POA, today.