When does the attorney-in-fact’s authority under a Durable Power of Attorney terminate?
The authority of the attorney-in-fact of a Durable Power of Attorney automatically ends when one of three things happens: (1) the principal dies; (2) the principal revokes the Power of Attorney, or (3) when a court determines that the principal is totally or partially incapacitated and does not specifically provide that the Power of Attorney is to remain in force. In any of these three instances, the Durable Power of Attorney is terminated. If, after having knowledge of any of these events, a person continues to act as attorney-in-fact, he or she is acting without authority. The power to make health care decisions, however, is not terminated when a court determines that the principal is totally or partially incapacitated unless the court specifically terminates this power.
What is the procedure for a principal to revoke a Power of Attorney?
Written notice must be served on the attorney-in-fact and any other party who might rely on the power. The notice must be served either by any form of mail that requires a signed receipt or by certain approved methods of personal delivery. Special rules exist for serving notice of revocation on banks and other financial institutions. Consult with your lawyer to be sure proper procedures are followed.
When does a general Power of Attorney terminate?
In addition to the three events detailed above, a general (non-durable) Power of Attorney terminates when the principal becomes incapacitated. If the principal of a non-durable power of attorney is believed to be incapacitated, then the attorney-in-fact should consult with his or her lawyer before exercising any further powers on behalf of the principal.
Court proceedings were filed to appoint a guardian for the principal or to determine whether the principal is incapacitated. How does this affect the Power of Attorney?
If a court proceeding to determine the principal’s incapacity has been filed or if someone is seeking to appoint a guardian for the principal, the Durable Power of Attorney is automatically suspended and an attorney-in-fact must not continue to act. The power to make health care decisions, however, is not suspended unless the court specifically suspends this power.
Authority as attorney-in-fact has been suspended because guardianship proceedings are pending for the principal. Now there is an emergency but there is no guardian and no attorney-in-fact to do something. What now?
The attorney-in-fact may ask the court for special permission to take care of the emergency even though the Power of Attorney remains otherwise suspended. Contact your lawyer.
This is the sixth part of a seven part article on Florida Powers of Attorney Click to review the others . If you need help with a Florida Power of Attorney contact a Jacksonville Florida Estate Planning Lawyer.