Often used by elderly or disabled individuals in Florida, a power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes a designated person to act on your behalf.
Hence, if the person who created the document (the principal) is unable to handle his or her personal or financial matters, a POA provides a feasible and cost-effective solution. Does a durable power of attorney end at death in Florida? Keep reading to find out.
Florida Power of Attorney – An Overview
Under a POA, you (the principal) can designate a third party (referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf in specified legal or financial matters.
Each situation is different, which means agents may receive distinct levels of authority under a POA. The most common type of POA is the financial POA.
In a financial power of attorney, the principal designates an agent (or attorney-in-fact) to handle finance-related matters on his or her behalf, such as handling bank accounts, buying or selling real estate, paying bills, and investing using the principal’s portfolio.
It is possible to create a financial POA in which the document’s effective date does not depend on the principal’s incapacitation or any similar event. For example, a real estate businessman may sign a POA authorizing an agent to close a business in another state on his behalf.
Also, it is not unusual to find cases wherein adult children whose elderly parents need daily supervision and assistance using POAs to handle their parents’ personal affairs.
Florida Durable Power of Attorney – As Provided by Law
A durable power of attorney is a POA that is not terminated upon the principal’s incapacitation.
Florida Statutes §709.2104 specifies that “a power of attorney is durable if it contains (…) words that show the principal’s intent that the authority conferred is exercisable notwithstanding the principal’s subsequent incapacity.”
Under the same statute, the recommended language to be used in a Florida durable POA is “this durable power of attorney is not terminated by subsequent incapacity of the principal except as provided in chapter 709, Florida Statutes.”
Does a Durable Power of Attorney End at Death in Florida? – The Verdict
Under Florida Statutes §709.2109 (1), “a power of attorney terminates when:
- The principal dies
- The principal becomes incapacitated (if the power of attorney is not durable)
- The principal is adjudicated totally or partially incapacitated by a court, unless the court determines that certain authority granted by the power of attorney is to be exercisable by the agent
- The principal revokes the power of attorney
- The power of attorney provides that it terminates
- The purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished, or
- The agent’s authority terminates, and the power of attorney does not provide for another agent to act under the power of attorney”
Florida Statutes §709.2109 (2) adds that “an agent’s authority is exercisable until the authority terminates. An agent’s authority terminates when:
- The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, resigns, or is removed by a court,
- An action is filed for the dissolution or annulment of the agent’s marriage to the principal or for their legal separation unless the power of attorney otherwise provides, or
- The power of attorney terminates”