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Need to Grant a Power of Attorney?

Call on a Panama City Probate Lawyer for Counsel

A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is an estate planning document that allows a person to give someone else legal authority to act for them. The person who signs the POA gives their "agent" the ability to make binding decisions on their behalf. My clients usually want to ensure the power granted will be "durable", as this will ensure that it will remain valid if the person granting the power later becomes incapacitated. These powers can be as broad or narrow as is needed to suit their purpose. For obvious reasons, authorizing another person to act with one of these documents is an important decision.

Typically the power granted enables the agent to access bank accounts, sign contracts, and other legal documents on behalf of the individual who signed the POA. If you need a Power of Attorney, please consider calling my office. I am Panama City estate planning lawyer and probate attorney. I will help you ensure that your Power of Attorney is drafted to meet your exact requirements.

I help my clients work through all estate planning matters, including: planning documents, entity formation and/or dissolution, business succession planning, guardianships, probate, will contests, and trust litigation. I am an experienced probate lawyer in north Florida, and I will focus on achieving your specific goals. If you choose to work with me, I will strive to ensure that you feel like you have received a good value for your hard earned money.

How can I create a Power of Attorney?

Generally speaking, there are two types of POAs —limited and general. The former lets you, the maker of the POA, name an individual to act in specific matters if you are unavailable, unwilling, or in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. These powers typically have an expiration date, and they often permit the agent to act in a very specific way. The more common estate planning document is a general durable power of attorney. These are very broad, and I typically describe them to my clients as being documents that grant person the ability to do anything the client can do with a pen. That would include paying bills, selling real estate, mortgaging property, signing contracts, cashing out a bank account, etc. For healthcare decisions, there is a different instrument known as a Healthcare Surrogate Designation. Those documents act much like a power of attorney, and I prepare them regularly. However, I do so in a separate document. Often a healthcare surrogate is the same person as the one named in a durable power of attorney. I recommend that healthcare surrogate designations are kept on file with my clients' primary care physicians.

There are several steps to naming an individual to act for you with a power of attorney:

  • Choose which powers you would like to grant
  • Decide on someone you would trust to act for you in this manner
  • Carefully consider the pros and cons of granting "all" powers in a general power of attorney
  • Ensure proper formalities of execution (initials, witnesses, and a notary public)
  • Keep the resulting document safe and readily accessible

I will work to make sure your final documents meet your needs in every way. I caution my clients to be wary of forms, as Florida law has some very specific requirements that must be followed in order to create legally valid documents of this kind.

Obtain the Legal Help You Need

Naming an agent in a POA is a very serious matter as the person you choose can potentially have authority to make decisions regarding your finances. I tell my clients that it is the most dangerous instrument I prepare, and that it must be done with absolute confidence in the person being named. Please consider calling me, or some other competent Panama City estate planning attorney and probate lawyer if you are considering granting someone this much power. I can provide you with the legal advice you need to make the right decision at every step.

Call my firm today and together we can start the process of creating a POA conforming to your needs.