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What Is the Difference Between Durable and Limited Power of Attorney in Florida?

difference between durable and limited power of attorney

It was a sunny afternoon in Deerfield Beach when the phone call came. John’s elderly mother, Sophia, had suffered a debilitating stroke and was hospitalized. The doctors needed someone to make critical decisions, but Sophia hadn’t granted anyone Power of Attorney. 

Suddenly, John found himself navigating a complex legal maze, unable to access his mother’s accounts or make important medical decisions on her behalf. He felt helpless, watching precious time tick away while he tried to establish guardianship. The stress of the situation only compounded as bills piled up and Sophia’s condition deteriorated.

Stories like this are all too common, which is why understanding the difference between Durable and Limited Power of Attorney is so important for Floridians. These legal instruments can make all the difference when a loved one becomes incapacitated or unable to manage their own affairs.

Let’s dive deep into the world of Durable and Limited Powers of Attorney, exploring the unique features and applications of each.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A Florida POA, or Power of Attorney, is a legal document that grants someone (the “agent”) the authority to act on behalf of another person (the “principal”). This allows the agent to make decisions and take actions for the principal, such as managing finances, property or health care decisions. Power of Attorney can be an invaluable tool, especially when the principal becomes incapacitated or is suddenly unable to make decisions for themselves.

What Is a Power of Attorney Typically Used For?

Boca Raton, Florida Estate Planning lawyers often utilize Powers of Attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan. A Power of Attorney can be used for various purposes, including:

  • Managing financial affairs: The agent can pay bills, deposit or withdraw funds and make investment decisions on the principal’s behalf.
  • Handling real estate transactions: The agent can buy, sell or manage the principal’s property.
  • Making health care decisions: The agent can make medical decisions, authorize treatments and access the principal’s medical records.
  • Caring for dependents: The agent can make decisions regarding the care and well-being of the principal’s children or other dependents.
  • Protecting assets: The agent can take steps to safeguard the principal’s assets, such as securing their home or managing their investments.

By granting a Power of Attorney, the principal can ensure that their affairs are properly managed even if they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves, providing peace of mind for the principal and their loved ones.

Durable vs Limited Power of Attorney

Understanding the difference between Durable and Limited Power of Attorney is crucial, as it can impact the agent’s authority and the principal’s protections.

A Durable Power of Attorney grants broad and extensive powers to the agent, even if the principal becomes incapacitated. The agent can continue to make decisions and take actions on the principal’s behalf, such as managing finances, making healthcare decisions, and handling real estate transactions, even if the principal is no longer able to do so themselves. Durable Powers of Attorney are often seen as a crucial component of a comprehensive estate plan, as they ensure that the principal’s affairs are properly managed.

In contrast, a Limited Power of Attorney is more narrowly defined, granting the agent specific and limited powers. The agent’s authority is typically restricted to a particular task or time period, such as handling a real estate closing or managing the principal’s finances while they are out of the country. Limited Powers of Attorney apply when the principal wants to grant someone the ability to act on their behalf for a specific purpose without giving them broader decision-making authority.

When considering a Power of Attorney, it’s important to carefully evaluate the needs of the principal and determine which type of Power of Attorney best suits their circumstances. Some key factors include:

  • The principal’s current and anticipated future health and decision-making capacity
  • The scope of powers the principal wants to grant to the agent
  • The duration for which the principal needs the agent to have authority
  • The level of trust the principal has in the prospective agent

If you’ve been searching online for “Power of Attorney’ attorney near me,” you’re on the right track. An experienced lawyer can ensure you have the appropriate legal instruments in place to protect your interests and the interests of your loved ones.

Common Powers of Attorney

When working with Boca Raton Estate Planning lawyers, principals may choose to grant their agents a variety of specialized Powers of Attorney, including:

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This gives the agent the authority to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf, such as consenting to treatment, accessing medical records and even making end-of-life choices if the principal becomes incapacitated. The agent must act in accordance with the principal’s expressed wishes, often outlined in an Advance Directive like a Living Will.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: Also known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, this document empowers the agent to manage the principal’s financial affairs, which can include paying bills, handling banking and investments, filing taxes and making other financial decisions.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management: This grants the agent the ability to manage and protect the principal’s real estate, personal property, and other assets. The agent can buy, sell or lease the principal’s property and make decisions about asset protection and distribution.
  • Limited Power of Attorney: As the name implies, this type of Power of Attorney has a narrowly defined scope, such as authorizing an agent to handle a specific transaction or financial matter during a set period of time. It does not grant the broad decision-making powers of a Durable POA.
  • Digital Power of Attorney: This emerging type of POA gives the agent the authority to access and manage the principal’s online accounts, social media profiles and other digital assets. Thanks to today’s advanced technology, Digital Power of Attorney is becoming increasingly important for handling the principal’s legacy.
  • Business Power of Attorney: For principals who own a company, this document empowers the agent to make decisions, enter into contracts and manage the business on the principal’s behalf.

By working closely with Boca Raton Estate Planning lawyers, principals can gain a better understanding about which Power of Attorney best suits their unique circumstances.

How to Give or Receive Power of Attorney

Establishing a Florida POA, whether as the principal or the agent, involves a few key steps:

  • Choose the right agent: Select someone you fully trust to make decisions on your behalf. Consider their reliability, decision-making skills, and commitment to your wellbeing.
  • Determine the scope: Decide which specific powers you want to grant the agent, such as financial, healthcare, or real estate management.
  • Consult an attorney: Work with experienced Boca Raton, Florida Estate Planning lawyers to draft the Power of Attorney document. This will ensure it aligns with state laws and your best interests.
  • Sign the document: The principal must sign the power of attorney in the presence of a notary and two witnesses in order to make it legally binding.
  • Provide copies: The principal should give copies of the executed document to the agent, their healthcare providers, and any relevant financial institutions.
  • Monitor the agent: The principal should maintain open communication with the agent and monitor their actions to ensure they are fulfilling their duties properly.

Whether you are receiving or giving someone Power of Attorney, it’s in your best interest to work with experienced Boca Raton, Florida Estate Planning lawyers.

The Siegel Law Group, P.A.: Your Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyers

Have you been searching online for “’Power of Attorney’ attorney near me”? The Siegel Law Group, P.A. in Boca Raton is ready to help.  With a track record spanning over 25 years, our boutique law firm has helped countless families protect their assets and legacy. Let us provide protection for your loved ones, peace of mind for you! Call us at (561) 955-8515 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.

I also invite you to pick up a copy of my book, Caught in the Middle: Juggling Your Elderly Parents’ Affairs While Raising Your Own Family, for just 99 cents for information about Elder Care and Medicaid Planning.

Our law firm serves Boca Raton and South Florida. We are here for you and by your side 24/7.

Copyright © 2024. The Siegel Law Group, P.A. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Siegel Law Group, P.A.
2500 N Military Trail Suite 470
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 955-8515
siegellawgroup.com

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