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How much power can be granted with a Florida power of attorney?

Many Fort Myers, Florida, residents either have a close relative or a friend who refuses to develop an estate plan. These people are quite stubborn, and despite advice from friends and family, they believe their financial situation is under control. Many have even failed to take the simple step of giving a close family member their power of attorney. They may be afraid that if they relinquish control over their financial matters, they will never get it back. But, a power of attorney (POA) can have varying degrees of control over someone's finances. It can be designed to cover as much or as little as needed.

A power of attorney is designed to allow a designated agent to make qualified financial decisions on someone else's behalf, if that individual is no longer able to make those decisions. This situation could develop because the person has become ill, or perhaps, they no longer have the mental capacity to make these choices. The POA gives the agent legal authority to act, and this authority is recognized by courts throughout the state of Florida.

However, a POA can be set up to have limits. It does not have to encompass all aspects of an individual's finances. It can be used to carry out simple financial duties, such as paying bills and taxes, managing a person's estate and collecting retirement benefits. It can also cover more complex areas, such as selling and buying assets, running a person's business and even hiring an attorney.

The key to a POA lies in its durability. By making a POA durable, the individual's agent will always have the ability to act on behalf of the individual. Nonetheless, if a POA is not durable, then the agent's authority to make financial decisions ends when the individual can once again make those decisions. However, if the individual becomes ill again, the POA does not reinstate the agent.

A POA can be a very flexible financial document. It can also be a cornerstone of sound estate planning. Anyone interested in learning more about POAs can find it at the source for this blog or by seeking the advice of an experienced estate planning legal expert.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Durable Financial Power of Attorney," accessed on April 7, 2015.

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