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A Power of Attorney can be a flexible estate planning tool

Solid estate planning can really help bring peace of mind and can clearly delineate a person's final wishes. However, there are still some Florida residents who fail to see the many advantages of estate planning. Some of them have not even developed simple power of attorney. That is unfortunate since a POA can become very important if someone becomes ill or incapacitated. So here is some basic information about this very flexible estate planning tool.

A power of attorney is designed to allow a designated agent to make qualified financial decisions for someone if that individual is no longer able to make those decisions. This situation can develop if a person becomes ill or 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. But 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 cornerstone of sound estate planning. However, any Florida resident who wants to develop a POA may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to better customize the document to fit their needs.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Durable financial power of attorney", Accessed September 19, 2016

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