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Understanding powers of attorney

When a person in Florida becomes unable to take care of certain legal things, a power of attorney can be created to allow another party the ability to manage important affairs. A power of attorney may also be created before a need for assistance arises in order to prevent being left without a good option for how to take care of things.

The Florida Bar explains that there are generally three types of powers of attorney. One is a limited power of attorney. This is created so that another party can manage one particular act or task, such as the sale of real estate. Another is a general power of attorney. This can setup a person to be able to make financial or medical decisions for another person. The third type is a durable power of attorney. This is very similar to the general except that it can be created so that it remains effective even if the person who gave power becomes incapacitated.

The Florida Statutes outlines that an agent is a person who is given power. A principal is a person who gives power to another. In order to be valid, a power of attorney must be signed by both the agent and the principal. The signing must be witnessed by two additional persons. Formal recording of the document is not required.

With a general or durable power of attorney, the scope of what an agent is allowed to do can be as broad or limited as the principal wishes. The agent does not have to be a specific individual as a bank or other financial institution may be named as an agent in a power of attorney.

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