To understand what a springing power of attorney is, we must first understand the concept of powers of attorney.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a document which gives authority to the receiver (known as the agent) to act on behalf of the document maker (the principal). The actions of the agent, also known as the attorney-in-fact, must be in compliance with the wordings of the document as laid down by the principal. Powers of attorney for Florida typically authorizes the agent over the financial affairs of the principal.
Importance of powers of attorney
Powers of attorney are an essential part of proper estate planning. They help people prepare for incapacity since they would not be able to handle their affairs themselves, the agent will do so on their behalf. The good thing is that the document is legal, and binds the agent to always act in a way that is beneficial to the principal’s best interests. To this end, the POA is an opportunity to appoint someone who would represent your best interest, someone who you perceive to have the same point of views as you, and so would make virtually the same decisions you would have made if you were able to.
Types of powers of attorney
There are several types of POA, of which the springing power of attorney is one. The types are generally based on the limit of the agent’s jurisdiction, and the date or event at which the document is expected to go into effect. In Florida, a POA must go into effect the same day it was executed, and not at a later date.
Springing Power of Attorney Florida
The springing power of attorney is a type of POA which only goes into effect when the principal becomes incapacitated or due to any other event at a date later than that which it was executed. By Florida laws, such a POA is invalid.
The law regulating power of attorney in Florida
The Florida statute section 709.2108 regulates the start date of effectiveness of POA in Florida. Before October 1, 2011, the springing power of attorney was recognized and acceptable in Florida. On that date, the statute was altered. Due to the change, the law now nullifies any POA which states that the agent must begin acting on a later date from that on which it was executed, or contingent on a future condition such as incapacity — as with a springing power of attorney.
There is a clause in the law
It was observed that before that date at which the statute was changed, there were already springing POA which were expected to go into effect at a later date. The law then made a clause that such documents will still be allowed to go into effect so long they were created before the law was changed. However, an affidavit must be signed by the physician responsible for the principal, declaring their present state of incapacity.
The affidavit must hitherto contain the qualifications of the physician and their license to practice medicine, and a written statement that attests to the incapacity of the principal. After submission of the affidavit, the springing POA can then be allowed to go into effect, and the agent may commence their fiduciary duties.
Other types of powers of attorney Florida
Since the springing power of attorney is no longer valid in Florida, there are other types that you can create.
By creating a durable power of attorney, your agent would have durable authorization to handle your financial affairs on your behalf before, during and even after incapacity, hence the name “durable”. The durable POA is only revoked by the principal when they please.
To appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, you should create an advance healthcare directive.
A living will on the other hand allows you to lay down your treatment preferences for end of life situations. Would you like to be resuscitated, put on life support, have your organs and tissue donated or not?
Get help from a Florida attorney
The Springing POA is a typical example of how laws change constantly. What was valid yesterday may become invalid tomorrow, and it takes a seasoned and up-to-date attorney to know what legal instruments are available to cover your estate wishes, and how best to execute them with optimum benefits for you. Kindly contact our Florida-based law firm to speak with an attorney today.