A power of attorney is a document that typically forms part of a person's estate planning. People nationwide, including in Florida, usually draft such a document to protect their interests when they become unable to do it themselves. A person would choose a trusted individual -- which could be a friend, relative, lawyer or other individual -- to make decisions on his or her behalf when he or she becomes incapacitated.
People are advised to designate someone for this purpose long before they reach an age at which they may need this type of protection. Not only might they be better able to make well-informed choices, but they can also clearly indicate what the powers of the designated people will be. If left too late, a court may determine that the person was not of sound mind at the time of appointing a power of attorney.
These powers are typically allocated to two individuals -- one to be power of attorney for financial matters and one to be a healthcare power of attorney. The latter would make health-related decisions, and the former will be responsible for legal and financial decisions. The document can indicate whether the power of attorney is immediately effective or only when the person becomes incapacitated, and it may limit the powers of attorney to specific transactions or decisions.
While most people may think establishing powers of attorney is only applicable to the elderly, an accident can cause incapacitation at any time. Being prepared for such an eventuality at any age may provide peace of mind. Although it might seem like a morbid thought, it is a task that can be accomplished easily with the guidance of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.
Source: agingcare.com, "What is Durable Power of Attorney?", Marlo Sollitto, Jan. 14, 2017