Durable Power of Attorney

Need to Grant a Power of Attorney?

Call on a Panama City Probate Lawyer for Counsel

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is an estate planning document that allows a person to give someone else legal authority to act for them. The person who signs the DPOA 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 DPOA. 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 power of attorney documents — limited and general. The former lets you, the maker of the instrument, name an individual to act in specific matters. 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 (DPOA). These are very broad, and I typically describe them to my clients as being documents that grant another 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 the Florida statutes have 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 DPOA 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 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.



Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 850-640-1131 today!

  • What are some of the benefits of conducting business through a legal entity?

    One of the most important benefits is the protection of your personal assets against the claims of creditors. Generally speaking, directors, officers, managers, members, and stockholders (the interested parties) are not held personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business entity. The interested parties should be limited in their personal liability to the amount invested in the company. Another legal benefit is the transferability of ownership, which can be done either in whole or in part. Also, some estate tax planning options are only available to business entities. Retirement funds, such as 401ks may be established more easily. Also, a business entity can acquire and establish its own credit rating.

  • What are some of the mistakes people make when going into business?
    There are always risks involved in going into business. As most people know, a majority of small businesses do not succeed in the long run. Mistakes of new business owners may include the lack of a realistic business plan, underestimating costs and tax liabilities, and unfavorable business contracts/agreements. Even more problematic is a failure to understand the business or the marketplace, underestimating the competition, and/or not being effective at managing a business. Responsibility for these latter areas ultimately falls to the owners, but sound legal advice can substantially improve the chances of success.
  • How can I be protected from liability claims that arise from my business?

    Generally speaking, business owners doing business as limited liability companies, corporations, or limited partnerships do not have personal liability for the obligations or debts of the business. This assumes that no personal guarantees have been executed. If the business has been properly created, it is a separate legal entity. The details of formation are important, and the filing fees must be paid. If properly created and maintained, the assets owned by the business should be the only ones that are subject to debt or other liability considerations.