This site attempts to distill the complex POA family of documents into something that’s more easily understood and that you can decide about. We have begun this free website for the public and those interested in creating a power of attorney legal document. These agreements are pretty potent and come in a few varieties with a few different uses.
To not be too wordy here, we’d like to briefly introduce what a Power of Attorney Form is for those in the initial stages of information gathering.
If you are considering creating a living will, POA document, estate planning document, or other health and asset Power of Attorney agreement, congratulations on being proactive. We hope you never actually have the cause to use it, though.
What exactly is a Power of Attorney Document?
A power of attorney does not have anything to do with hiring an attorney. Except for some of the formalities (like signing the POA document itself), attorneys do not have much involvement in the process.
In a nutshell, the power of attorney document is a legal document that any two parties may sign where one of the signers (known as the “grantor”) authorizes another party (sometimes more than one person or entity known as the “representative” or “agent” ) to make formal decisions on their behalf. These decisions incorporate things like paying bills, starting or stopping services in the grantor’s name, and incorporating medical decisions on behalf of the grantor.
The idea behind these legal documents is that they are all very similar to the last will; only the power of attorney form goes into action before you die, and (hopefully) this legal document gets nullified with your return to good health.
That’s it. A Florida Power of Attorney document is like your marching orders should you ever become incapacitated and cannot conduct your affairs on your own. This legal document states who you would like to appoint to handle paying your bills, tenants, and bank accounts. The form even states your specific desires on what medical procedures you will allow to be performed on you, what medications to be used, and even if life support measures should or should not be taken to preserve your life.
This legal document allows another third party to become you in a sense, at least while you are incapacitated. They can legally open, close bank accounts, transfer money, sell stocks you own, and all that in your name. They can even sell your house, store your belongings, or evict your tenants. Calling it a “power” of attorney form is very suitable.
The Basic Power of Attorney Types in a Nutshell
There are really two major types of POA forms in the state of Florida. They are the Durable Power of Attorney form and the Limited Power of Attorney Form. The first one lasts even though you may become incapacitated, and the other one becomes void if you become incapacitated. Within these two categories of documents reside all the rest types.
Digging a little deeper into our Florida Power of Attorney education, we uncover the third type of a POA agreement, the Medical Power of Attorney.
Limited Power of Attorney
It has no extending powers beyond your sound judgment (it stops when you can no longer make decisions for yourself) and is also limited in the scope of its powers. Usually, the Limited Power of Attorney is for a specific event or time frame (e.g., collecting your tenant’s rent while you are out of the country), and then it expires.
» Read more about the Florida Limited Power of Attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney
This is the most comprehensive POA form. Unless specified within the document (what can be known as a “durability clause”), Power of Attorney agreements become nullified or void when the principal signer becomes incapacitated. That’s where durability comes into play.
This legal document can stay in effect even after the principal becomes incapacitated, even for a lengthy period, making this form incredibly useful. The agent can continue to conduct business, collect and pay debts, even though you may be in the hospital or out of the hospital country for long periods.
» Read more about the Florida Durable Power of Attorney.
Medical Power of Attorney
Medical POA is designed to handle any health-related decisions on your behalf. This is important if you are incapacitated (it has durability built into it) with a severe injury or illness and doctors want to perform a complicated or otherwise risky operation. Or perhaps they want to try a relatively new drug or procedure. Or maybe the circumstance is that your religious or philosophical beliefs prohibit certain forms of treatment.
Florida law and statutes allow you to stipulate what you would choose for yourself if you were able to.
» Read more about the Florida Medical Power of Attorney.
Springing Power of Attorney
The springing power of attorney document is a slightly different legal document than a durable power of attorney document. The abilities you bestow in a springing POA are activated only when you (the grantor) become incompetent or medically disabled. A springing power of attorney document is an alternative to a durable power of attorney document. This means that your chosen representative can only start acting as your “attorney-in-fact” only after you are determined medically incompetent or disabled by a physician.
Commonly, people may not feel comfortable bestowing a wide range of capabilities to their chosen agent immediately after creating a power of attorney document that is why they choose this POA. This POA document doesn’t allow your chosen representative to make any health care or medical decisions for you. However, a springing POA can become an issue if there is a disagreement between family members or doctors regarding the disabled state of the grantor.
Well, that is the basic introduction for these instrumental legal documents in the state of Florida. With these forms at your disposal, we strongly suggest that you learn all you can by exploring the articles and information about the various Florida Power of Attorney forms here on this site (and elsewhere) before creating or signing the real deal.