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New Power of Attorney statute

On October 1, 2011Florida’s new Power of Attorney statute became effective. This statute completely re-wrote the law governing this very important area that affects everyone. If you have a POA drafted under the old statute, it is still valid but there are a number of rule changes.

The new statute authorizes “super powers” which need to be initialed by the signor. These powers, if included, can allow the attorney-in-fact to make a gift, create or change rights of survivorship, create a change of beneficiary designation, disclaim property, and apply and qualify for Medicaid benefits.

Some of these “super powers” can be very useful. Sometimes you do not want your attorney-in-fact to have an original POA while you are still competent. Unfortunately, we can no longer have a “springing POA,” which takes effect only upon the person’s disability. Instead, we can use the escrow agreement method to keep the power in my possession until a disability occurs.

Because of the new statute, it is my opinion that many banks will be looking for POA’s drafted using the new statutory language. While your old POA is still valid, it may benefit you to update your POA and include some of the new super powers. Of course, I have a POA that meets with the new statutory requirements and I can include the new super powers in the POA. Please do not rely upon store-bought forms, internet forms, or software.

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