When Does a Florida Power of Attorney Expire?
A power of attorney is a document that delegates authority from one person to another. For example, you might have a power of attorney authorizing an agent to sell your house while you are out of the state. In estate planning, it is common practice to sign what is known as a durable power of attorney. This refers to a power of attorney that authorizes the agent to act even when the principal–the person who signed the power–is incapacitated.
One question we often get is, “When does a power of attorney expire?” The answers largely depends on how the power of attorney is drafted. But as a general rule, a durable power of attorney does not have a fixed expiration date. Of course, as the principal, you are free to set an expiration date if that suits your particular needs.
More commonly, if you want to terminate an agent’s authority under a power of attorney, you are free to do so at any time. Typically, you will sign a separate document revoking the earlier power of attorney. Alternatively, you can simply make a new durable power of attorney naming a different agent. However you proceed, it is always a good idea to provide written notice of your now-former agent that you have decided to make a change, in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
Aside from the principal’s revocation, there is one other event that will cause any power of attorney to expire–the principal’s death. When you die, any power of attorney that you signed during your lifetime becomes null and void. If you want to name someone to manage your financial affairs after your death, you need to make a will and name a personal representative. This can be the same person as the agent under your power of attorney, but it is critical that you have a separate will.
A regular power of attorney may also expire if the principal is “incapacitated,” i.e., legally incapable of managing their own affairs. In the case of durable power of attorney, the agent’s authority continues even during the incapacity. There is also something known as a “springing” power of attorney, which only authorizes the agent to act after a physician declares the principal is incapacitated. Current Florida law does not recognize any springing powers of attorney signed after October 1, 2011.
Speak with a Lee County, Florida, Estate Planning Lawyer Today
Even if you already have a power of attorney in place, it is a good idea to periodically review the documents and decide if any changes are necessary. A qualified Fort Myers estate planning attorney can help. Whether you are looking to revise a power of attorney or engaging the estate planning process for the first time, call the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 today to schedule a free confidential consultation.