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What Is a Durable POA?

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Tampa Probate Lawyer / Tampa Durable Power of Attorney

Tampa Durable Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney, usually referred to as “POA,” is an important legal document that allows an appointed individual to make legal, financial, and/or medical decisions on your behalf. The person granting the Power of Attorney is called the “principal,” while the person accepting Power of Attorney is referred to as the “agent.”

Power of Attorney is a powerful and controlling legal document, but it has flaws. Most notably, general Power of Attorney ends when a person becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions on their own behalf. The problem, therefore, is that basically, when you need it most, Power of Attorney ends. To alleviate this issue, numerous states, including Florida, have adopted the “durable” Power of Attorney (“Durable POA”).

The most important factor of Durable POA is that it continues (or “endures”) after someone (the “principal”) is incapacitated, unconscious, or otherwise unable to make decisions on their own.

Handle Finances While You Are Incapacitated

Perhaps the most significant advantage is that an agent, created using a Durable POA, can handle a variety of financial tasks on your behalf, depending on the specific authority granted within the Durable POA. This can allow your finances to stay organized and taken care of while you are unable to do so.

With a Durable POA, your agent can:

  • Sign checks
  • Fill out tax returns
  • Mail and deposit Social Security checks
  • Manage investment accounts
  • Pay bills
  • Conduct business transactions
  • Make donations
  • Act on your behalf in virtually all financial matters, as specified in the documents

Durable Power of Attorney Is Not the Same as Medical Power of Attorney Also Known as a Healthcare Surrogate.

Using a Durable POA, the agent can pay medical bills, but he or she is not authorized to make medical decisions. Medical decisions and other end of life decisions would require a separate medical POA form known as a Healthcare Surrogate. That said, the Healthcare Surrogate can be the same person who is appointed as your Agent in the Durable POA.

Avoid Guardianship

If you are incapacitated but have not appointed a Durable POA, a court proceeding may be commenced to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. Through this process, the Court appointed guardian may have the ability to dictate your finances and your medical decisions. The individual appointed as your guardian could be an adult child, a spouse, a parent, a close friend, or even a professional who has no relationship to you at all.

With durable Power of Attorney documents, however, you’ll have peace of mind, know exactly who will make decisions on your behalf, and avoid the guardianship process.

Who to Appoint as a Durable POA?

While the decision is personal, you should appoint a trusted person, one who is qualified to handle your financial and legal situations. It should be someone you can trust with your finances, someone who fully understands your intent and wishes. Once the person is appointed, you should communicate your wishes with the agent if you haven’t already.

It is typically wise to have only one Agent to avoid arguments and delays over the necessary decisions to be made, but you could appoint a backup in case the primary agent is unable to serve their duties.

Create a Durable Power of Attorney Right Away

Don’t wait for a medical emergency or other situation to create problems with your finances and medical care. Forms found on the Internet are not sufficient because by the time you learn of their inadequacies, it will be too late; remedial measures can be costly and time-consuming. A Durable POA must be created properly to satisfy Florida laws, so you need expert guidance from a qualified attorney.

Contact the experienced Tampa POA attorneys at the Messina Law Group, P.A. and let us draft a Durable POA for you right away!

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