In Florida, a durable power of attorney grants an individual, what the state refers to as an “agent,” the authority to act for a principal, according to The Florida Bar. If you were to grant someone, say one of your younger loved ones, power of attorney, he or she would be able to legally look after your affairs in the event you became unable to.
Although it’s not a pleasant thought, there’s a possibility you may become incapable of looking after your finances, assets, or even make decisions regarding your health. As you’d imagine, granting one of your younger loved ones power of attorney isn’t easy. Here are three factors you need to take into account:
Ideally, you’d like your agent to be within close proximity to your residence. This enables him or her to address any urgent issues as they arise. Given how easy it is to communicate over the internet nowadays, it’s not imperative that your agent be located nearby, but it is generally preferable, especially if you prefer to stay in close contact.
What if you’re considering moving to Florida but want to sign a power of attorney agreement in another state? According to state law, a power of attorney signed in a different state is valid in Florida provided the agreement complied with the law of the state of execution.
- Age and expertise
For obvious reasons, you want to ensure the person receiving power of attorney is in good health. Florida law states that if the agent passess away or becomes medically unable to carry out his or her duties, this will terminate or suspend the power of authority.
At the same time, you want to assign agency to someone with plenty of life experience. Emerita Mercado, certified financial planner and trust and estate practitioner at T.E. Wealth, recommended you assess candidates’ investment knowledge and financial management skills. Just because a person is trustworthy doesn’t mean he or she understands the risks of making certain fiscal decisions.
Make sure you can trust someone before assigning them power of attorney.
- Trustworthy and assertive
Take a look at your family members or very close friends: Which one has always followed through on his or her promises, or at least made the best effort possible fulfill them? Is there anyone in your family who has helped you without having to be asked?
You need an agent who understands the reasoning behind any health care preferences you may have. Before signing the power of attorney, speak with your assumed agent and detail what you would like him or her to do if you were to be mentally unfit to make decisions by yourself.
In addition, ensure your agent will put his or her best foot forward in ensuring you receive the care you require. If the agent suspects that your caregiver isn’t providing the assistance you require, have no doubts whatsoever that he or she will be relentless in the efforts to improve your conditions.
Assigning durable power of attorney isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Use this guide for reference and make sure you take your time in finding the right agent for you.