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Questions and Answers on Florida Durable Power of Attorney

Q: What are some uses of a Power of Attorney?


​A:    A Power of Attorney may be used to give another the right to sell a car, home or other property. A Power of Attorney might be used to allow another to access bank accounts, sign a contract, make health care decisions, handle financial transactions or sign legal documents for the principal. A Power of Attorney may give others the right to do almost any legal act that the maker of the Power of Attorney could do, including the ability to create trusts and make gifts.


Q: Where may a person obtain a Power of Attorney?


A:    A power of attorney is an important and powerful legal document as it is authority for someone to act in someone else’s legal capacity. It should be drawn by a lawyer to meet the person’s specific circumstances. Pre-printed forms may fail to provide the protection desired.​

Florida Durable Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document delegating authority from one person to another. In the document, the maker of the Power of Attorney
(the “principal”) grants the right to act on the maker’s behalf to an agent. What authority is granted depends on the specific language of the Power of Attorney. A person giving a Power of Attorney may make it very broad or may limit it to certain specific acts.


What is a “Limited Power of Attorney?” 

A “Limited Power of Attorney” gives the agent authority to conduct a specific act. For example, a person might use a Limited Power of Attorney to sell a home in another state by delegating authority to another person to handle the transaction locally through a “limited power of attorney.” Such a power could be “limited” to selling the home or to other specified acts.


What is a “General Power of Attorney?” 

A “General Power of Attorney” typically gives the agent very broad powers to perform any legal act on behalf of the principal. A specific list of the types of activities the agent is authorized to perform must be included in the document. 


What is a “Durable Power of Attorney?” 

A Power of Attorney terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated, unless it is a special kind of Power of Attorney known as a “Durable Power of Attorney.” A Durable Power of Attorney remains effective even if a person becomes incapacitated. However, there are certain exceptions specified in Florida law when a Durable Power of Attorney may not be used for an incapacitated principal. A Durable Power of Attorney must contain special wording that provides the power survives the incapacity of the principal. Most Powers of Attorney granted today are durable.

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