Understanding legal documents, including powers of attorney, can be integral to your estate planning. Whether compiling your estate plan or assisting an elderly parent, an Ocala power of attorney lawyer can help you set up the necessary documentation to protect your family.
Numerous online outlets allow you to download and print free, fill-in-the-blank documents. However, these are generic and vague and may authorize broader permissions than you need or intend. It can be beneficial to confer with an estate planning attorney at Bogin, Munns & Munns to draft a power of attorney.
Understanding the Purpose of a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney grants authority to a specific person to carry out transactions and make decisions on your behalf. The originator of a POA is called the “principal.” The designated “agent” is the person you authorize to act in your stead. Third parties include entities the agent has permission to interact with on your behalf, such as banks, doctors, or utility companies.
POAs can be financial or medical. They should be drawn up before competency becomes an issue, as the law requires all persons enacting a POA to be mentally competent. Although you can make a power of attorney without a lawyer, it is beneficial to consult with an attorney before enacting a POA.
To consult with an experienced power of attorney lawyer serving Ocala, call 855-780-9986
How a Power of Attorney Can Help Manage Your Estate
There are many areas where a power of attorney can be helpful, including:
- Authorizing an agent to collect debts owed to you
- Allowing an agent to buy and sell things on your behalf
- Managing business assets during temporary leaves of absence
- Making investments for you
- Cashing checks and disbursing payments to settle bills
- Managing financial matters as necessary
- Suing another entity on your behalf
- Managing medical issues and making decisions for you regarding medical matters
A power of attorney can be very broad or very limited. It is best to discuss what you desire with an Ocala power of attorney lawyer to streamline your POA to meet your needs.
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Different Types of POAs and How They Apply
There are several different categories of POA. Each has specific parameters that you can fine-tune to meet your needs.
- A general power of attorney can authorize your agent to act on your behalf in financial matters, business transactions, real estate management, transfers, and tax issues. The agent may manage financial assets, pay bills, and buy and sell stocks for you. Many people use this type of POA for short periods, such as when they may be in recovery from a major surgical procedure or traveling abroad. A general POA automatically becomes invalid if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated.
- A limited power of attorney may also be called a special power of attorney. It limits the powers of an agent with specifically detailed permissions explaining the parameters of their authority. This type of POA typically has an expiration date or may expire upon completion of the task assigned, such as the sale of a real estate property.
- A durable power of attorney is most commonly seen in estate planning. While general POAs terminate when the principal becomes incapacitated, a durable POA remains in effect. Permissions may be granted to an agent to conduct financial transactions and medical decisions for the principal. A durable POA allows adult children to make care arrangements for their elderly parents, pay financial obligations, and maintain investment portfolios.
Medical Powers of Attorney
This type of POA may also be known as a living will or advance directive. It gives the principal the ability to name a specific individual as their agent to conduct all dealings for healthcare. A medical POA may include a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order or other directions regarding palliative care and organ donation.
Medical POAs should be created when the principal is competent but are durable and will remain in effect if mental capacity changes over time.
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Basic Requirements for All Powers of Attorney
According to the Florida Bar, a power of attorney document must meet several requirements to make it binding:
- Competency of the principal is mandatory at the time of signing.
- Except in the case of medical and durable POAs, a POA typically becomes invalid if the principal becomes incapacitated.
- An agent cannot reassign the responsibilities of a POA to a secondary agent unless a specific person is designated as a co-agent within the POA.
- Under Florida Statutes § 709.2105, an agent must be at least 18 years old.
- The principal must sign a POA in front of two witnesses and have the document notarized.
Powers of attorney expire when a principal passes away. At that point, financial decisions revert to the instructions designated in a will. Unless the agent on a POA is also named as the decedent’s estate executor, they will lose control of any financial dealings and accounts in the principal’s name.
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Discussing Your Needs with an Ocala Power of Attorney Lawyer
An Ocala power of attorney lawyer can streamline your directive to contain the exact permissions you want. Your attorney will discuss your needs, outline what your document should contain, finalize the POA, and ensure it is signed and notarized following Florida laws.
An Ocala POA attorney can guide you and ensure your POA has necessary stipulations and limits where required, including:
- The power to change legal documents
- The ability to give gifts of property or money
- The ability to change property contracts
Finding an Ocala Power of Attorney Lawyer to Help
When you need assistance with a power of attorney for yourself or your elderly parents, an Ocala power of attorney lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns can help. Contact our estate planning team to discuss your options today.