Topic: Powers of Attorney
If your Florida Durable Power of Attorney is dated prior to
October 1, 2011, you should strongly consider getting a new one!
Power of Attorney is one of the most critical estate planning documents. A well-drafted durable power of attorney
often saves clients and their families considerable delay, inconvenience,
expense, and court involvement.
Power of Attorney Act became law on October 1, 2011. If your power of attorney was signed prior to
this date, you must be prepared for reluctance and delay of financial
institutions to accept it. Meaning that
when your agent, under your power of attorney, goes to exercise or actually use
their powers, they may hit roadblocks. Although
powers of attorney, if properly executed, signed prior to the new law are still
valid, the new law provides some important new benefits.
The new law
allows your power of attorney, your agent, to limit the time a financial institution
has to accept or reject your power of attorney document, under certain
circumstances. Prior to the new law,
this was frequently a problem as agents attempted to access funds to pay bills
and other necessities. Financial
institutions frequently took weeks to approve the use of the power of
attorney. The fallout for clients ranged
from late fees to services being discontinued.
The ability to limit the approval time, however, is only available if
certain provisions are contained in your newly drafted power of attorney
The new law
allows you to grant your agents certain ?super powers?. These ?super powers? allow your agent to make
changes in your estate plan and to minimize taxes if tax laws change. The most often used ?super powers? are those
relating to the authority to do Medicaid or VA benefit planning for you in the
event your health declines and your require long term care. The long term care provisions allow your agent
to take the steps necessary to preserve your assets rather than depleting them
for long term care costs. However,
without the ?super powers?, your agent?s limited authority could prevent them
from taking actions to protect your assets.
nor your attorney knows what power and authority your agents may need in the
future. Accordingly, we provide our
clients a comprehensive durable power of attorney containing the super powers
that you may need in the future. Selecting
your agent is critical, as you must have complete trust and confidence that
they will never abuse their authority.
We will create a document that gives your agent the authority to
accomplish what is in your best interest in the future and to achieve your
Wayne R. Coulter, Florida Board Certified, Wills, Trusts, and Estates