Durable Powers of Attorney are essential to any complete estate plan.
They are powerful documents that allow an individual (the Principal) to give another individual (the Agent) the power to transact business on his or her behalf.
For example, the Agent in a Durable Power of Attorney has the authority to pay bills on behalf of the Principal.
The Agent can also make deposits to and withdrawals from the Principal’s bank account. Of course, any such transactions must be for the benefit of the Principal.
Indeed, depending on how broad the powers are, the Agent may be able to, among other powers, sell property, receive property, withdraw money, create or modify trusts and other estate planning documents, and sell securities.
Moreover, in Florida, Durable Powers of Attorney are effective on the date they are executed, not only after you become incapacitated.
Therefore, if you execute one, your Agent can conduct business on your behalf immediately.
Because these powerful documents become effective immediately, you must be careful with whom you appoint to be your Agent.
Married couples generally serve as each other’s Agents. But, you may also want to have someone named as a backup in case your initial Agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or decides that they no longer want to serve as your Agent. If you name a backup, its important that you name someone whom you trust implicitly. Your lawyer can help you work through this decision to help you choose the best possible option.