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Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is an extremely powerful legal document that allows one person to make legal and financial decisions for another person and it can only be entered into by two competent adults. Power of Attorney is different from conservatorship, a situation where an adult takes legal guardianship of an incompetent adult.

There are different types of Power of Attorney in Florida with different levels of legal power. In legal terms, the person who is signing over their rights via the Power of Attorney is called the “principal,” and the person who receives those rights is called the “attorney-in-fact.”

Rights that can be signed over with a Power of Attorney agreement include the right to:

sell the principal’s car, home or other property
make health care decisions for the principal
handle financial transactions for the principal
sign legal documents for the principal

Limited Power of Attorney

A Limited Power of Attorney agreement gives the attorney-in-fact the right to handle one or more specific legal acts for the principal. Once these acts are completed, the Limited Power of Attorney becomes void. For example, a principal could use a Limited Power of Attorney to authorize someone to sell their home for them in another state. Once the house is sold, the attorney-in-fact no longer retains any of the principal’s legal rights.

General Power of Attorney

General Power of Attorney is much broader and allows the attorney-in-fact to perform any legal act for the principal. In order to protect themselves, a principal should always hire a lawyer to draft a General Power of Attorney and limit it to only the specific types of legal decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney

Quite often, the reason to enact a Power of Attorney is to ensure that a person’s wishes are met after they become incapacitated. But a General Power of Attorney becomes null and void when the principal loses competency. The solution to this problem is Durable Power of Attorney, a document that allows Power of Attorney to continue after the principle becomes incapacitated. This type of Power of Attorney is frequently enacted by elderly people who want to ensure that decisions regarding their care meet their wishes.

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