A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document you make that gives someone authority to act as your agent in certain areas of your life that are specified in the document. In Florida, you must sign a POA and have two witnesses sign it as well. You must then acknowledge the document and the signatures before a notary public.
Power of Attorney in Florida
If you are making a power of attorney in Florida, you are termed the principal. You are giving authority to someone else to act for you in certain situations, and that person is called the agent or the attorney-in-fact. Both principal and agent must be mentally competent adults and 18 years old or older to create a valid POA in Florida.
Although you will find lots of forms for Florida POAs online, it's important to understand that the most important part of a POA is the grant of authority. As the principal, you have total control over the scope of the authority you are giving to your agent. You can draw up a Florida POA with very narrow authority or you can intend to give your attorney-in-fact broad powers. But be careful that the POA accurately describes the power you wish to confer. If you have any doubts, run the matter by an attorney before signing the document.
In Florida, a power of attorney with a narrow scope is a limited power of attorney. This type of POA gives the agent narrow authority to conduct a specific act. For example, you could create a limited power of attorney that gives someone only the specific power to transfer your car title to a buyer. On the other hand, Florida also enforces a general power of attorney. This type of POA is broader in scope and can even give someone power to handle all of your business and financial matters on your behalf.
A durable power of attorney in Florida allows your agent to act for you even after – or sometimes only after – you become incompetent. Regular powers of attorney expire when the principal becomes incompetent.
Read More: Power of Attorney for Real Estate Transactions in Florida
How to Get a Power of Attorney in Florida
To create a power of attorney, select an agent with care. Florida law considers your agent to be a fiduciary, which means she owes you the highest duty under the law. If this trust is violated, the agent can be sued civilly and also charged with a crime.
Once you have selected your agent and are satisfied with the scope of authority set out in the POA, you are ready to sign the Florida document. Each state has its own rules about how to sign a POA, and it will be invalid if you do not follow these rules. In Florida, a POA must be signed by the principal in front of two adult witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the document. The principal must then acknowledge the signatures before a notary public. Generally a POA is immediately effective.
It's wise to have a lawyer draft and/or review your POA for legality and accuracy. After making a POA, keep it in a secure location and give copies to trusted people, such as your lawyer, designated agent and responsible family members.
- Meet the requirements. To grant valid power of attorney (POA), the person granting the power must be at least 18 years old. He must also be capable, which means the person is able to understand the powers granted and make the choice to grant them willingly.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.