Powers of attorney exist between the person who grants the power, known as the principal, and the person receiving the power, known as the attorney-in-fact or the agent. Florida law allows powers of attorney for a variety of purposes and in various forms. All Florida powers of attorney must comply with state laws to be considered valid and enforceable in the state.
Types and Requirements
According to the Florida Bar Association, Florida allows various kinds of powers of attorney. Power of attorney can vary depending on the kind of power it conveys, the time when it becomes effective and the situations when it terminates. For example, a springing power of attorney is one that takes effect only if specific conditions are met. A general power of attorney (POA) allows an agent to make any decisions the principal can make, while a limited POA places limitations on the decisions the agent is authorized to make. All POAs must be made in writing by a competent principal, however. The document must be signed by the principal and an appointed agent must be at least 18 years old
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is one that allows an agent to act on behalf of the principal even after the principal becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make or express decisions. A POA in Florida terminates upon the incapacity of the principal unless it is made durable. Florida Statutes 709.08 states that to make a POA durable, the document must state that the power of attorney is not affected by the principal's incapacity, or words similar to that effect. The document must expressly state the principal's desire to allow the agent to act even if the principal becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to revoke the POA.
Powers of attorney allow an attorney-in-fact to interact with third parties on behalf of the principal. Unfortunately, third parties do not always honor powers of attorney. This refusal can make it difficult for the attorney-in-fact to perform his duties. According to the Florida Bar Association, if third parties refuse to honor a power of attorney, the agent can force the third party to honor the document. If the refusal causes harm or damages, the third party can also be held liable for any damages caused. However, Florida law allows third parties to require the attorney-in-fact to sign an affidavit affirming the agent is validly expressing the decision making abilities authorized by the power of attorney.