How Does Durable Financial Power of Attorney Work?

How Does Durable Financial Power of Attorney Work?

A durable power attorney for finances is an estate planning tool used to cover your financial matters.  It is usually intended to be used in the event you become unable to make your own decisions. This typically occurs when you become incapacitated for health reasons. In most cases, the person granted durable financial power of attorney (known as your “agent”) is a spouse or trusted relative.

You can choose when the power of attorney takes effect. This can be as soon as you sign it.  Here is a link to take you to an article about powers of attorney, but be cautious, it is not specific to Florida law.  For example, “springing” powers of attorney are not practical under Florida law and you cannot just appoint anybody to be your agent.

To create a durable power of attorney that’s legally binding, you simply need to fill out a quick form and submit it to the proper office. Sometimes, banks and brokerage companies will have their own forms you need to fill out as well, so you should check with your financial institutions if you plan on using this as part of your estate plan.  Be cautious with relying on those kinds of forms, though.  They may not be adequate for your needs.

When does the power of attorney end?

There are several circumstances in which financial power of attorney will end:

  • Your death: Financial power of attorney automatically ends at your death. Your agent does not have the authority to handle matters after that point. Instead, that authority transfers to your personal representative.
  • Revocation: You may revoke durable financial power of attorney at any time, so long as you are mentally competent.
  • Document invalidation: There are rare circumstances in which a court will invalidate the document if you were not mentally competent or subject to undue influence at the time you created it.
  • No agent: If your agent is unavailable, the court will end financial power of attorney unless you have an alternate agent listed (which you should).

For more information and guidance on financial power of attorney, speak with an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.