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Are different kinds of Powers of Attorney available in Florida?

Some people have an unnatural fear about powers of attorney. This fear stems quite naturally from the misconception that once a POA has been invoked, it can never be rescinded. And while this isn't factual, these people should also know that there are several different kinds of POAs available in Florida and each can suit some very specific needs. But what are these POAs and what are their limitations?

The most basic POA in Florida is known as a general power of attorney. It allows the person named in the document to act on behalf of the testator, usually for financial matters. Sometimes, when these types of POAs are developed, they can specify what duties the POA holder can perform for the testator. A general POA ends if and when the testator becomes incapacitated.

Another type of POA is a limited power of attorney. As its name implies, this type of POA usually grants the holder power to perform only one specific act. It does not give the holder unlimited authority. Just like a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney ends if the testator becomes incapacitated.

By far, the longest-lasting POA in Florida is a durable power of attorney. Unlike a general POA and a limited POA, the durable POA goes into effect when the testator become incapacitated and is unable to make his or her own decisions. The reason that a durable POA remains in effect is that there is special wording in the document that states the power of the document remains in effect even if the testator becomes incapacitated. However, even a durable POA can be terminated if a motion has been filed in court to determine the testator's mental capacity.

POAs can fit a variety of needs for the testator. However, any Florida resident who is interested in developing a solid POA may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to find out which type of POA best suits their needs.

Source: corporate.findlaw.com, "Florida powers of attorney", Accessed Dec. 7, 2015

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