Articles Posted in Durable Power of Attorney

Estate Planning.jpgWe all need someone to look after us and care for us when we become part of the eldery population. We also need to take care of our spouses, our children, and our loved ones, when we have passed away. Looking to, and preparing for our future is in a nutshell, what Estate Planning in Jacksonville is all about.

Florida Estate Planning can be as simple as having your Florida Will, Florida Living Will, Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate, and Florida Durable Power of Attorney prepared. You can also have different types of trusts prepared if you would rather have your assets managed by a trusted individual, after your death. In Florida, Trusts are also a great way to minimize your taxes as well as to manage your assets.

Preparing for future medical and financial decisions to be made on our behalf in the event of our incapacity, or illness, is the reason we prepare a Living Will, Do Not Resucitate Order, Health Care Surrogate Designation, and Power of Attorney.

The Florida law governing powers of attorney and similar instruments is found in Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes. The Florida legislature on May 4, 2011 voted to pass Senate Bill 670 which significantly revised Chapter 709.

A. Generally

A power of attorney is a writing that grants authority to an agent to act in the place of the principal. Pursuant to the Act, a principal is an individual who grants authority to an agent and an agent is the person granted authority by the principal in a power of attorney. The Act allows for both durable and nondurable powers of attorney. A durable power of attorney is one that is not terminated by the incapacity of the principal, whereas a nondurable power of attorney is terminated upon the principal’s incapacity. For a power of attorney to be durable, it must state that it is not terminated by the subsequent incapacity of the principal, or similar words that evidence the principal’s intent.

The Act applies to all powers of attorney created by an individual except a proxy or other delegation to exercise voting or management rights with respect to an entity, a power created on a form prescribed by a governmental agency or subdivision for a governmental purpose, and a power coupled with an interest (e.g., a power given to a creditor to sell pledged collateral.
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File Cabinet.jpgFlorida residents be advised, not only is it important to consult with a Neptune Beach Estate Planning Attorney about having your Will, Trust, Power of Attorney and other legal documents prepared, but you must make your beneficiaries and heirs aware that they exist.

Keeping your important legal, real estate, motor vehicle, insurance and financial papers in an organized fashion and storing them where they can be found is crucial. Keeping your original Will secure and accessible is the first step. A Will allows you to decide which of your family members or friends will inherit your assets. If you have minor children, you designate a guardian for your kids, in case of your demise.

Wills are subject to the Probate process, which is a court supervised proceeding in which a personal representative is appointed, an inventory of your property is prepared, your debts and taxes are paid, and finally your assets are distributed to those beneficiaries named in your Will.

family.gifA Florida guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make personal

and/or financial decisions for a minor-child or for an adult with mental and/or physical disabilities. After the court has found that a person requires a Florida Guardian, they are referred to as a “ward.”

Florida Statutes provide for the appointment of a guardian for a minor in Florida in certain circumstances, such as when the child’s parents die, they are unable to care for a child, or if a child receives an inheritance exceeding an amount parents are allowed by statute to receive on behalf of their child.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the state of Florida has the highest Population Change and Net Migration of any other state, from the years 1975-2000. As is common knowledge, the baby-boomer generation is growing into retirement age, which increases the likelihood of periods of disability. There are two main options you should consider for who will manage your assets and health care decisions during a period of disability: 1) Set up a Revocable Living Trust; and/or 2) Designate a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Setting up a Florida Revocable Living Trust and a Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care usually provides a person with the comfort in knowing that their health and assets will be managed for their own benefit. Using both types of documents in tandem ensures that your assets and health should not be managed to benefit the private/secret desires of another person.

If you are a baby-boomer who is not quite at the age of retirement and who may look into moving into a warmer climate such as Florida, There are options you may want to discuss with a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer now, so that you can further secure your dreams of moving down south.

In a Bill supported by the Banks, you will no longer be able to obtain Springing Powers of Attorney in Florida. In addition, not only will you be required to have two witnesses sign in your presence like with a Florida Will or Florida Revocable Trust but you will also need a notary for it to be valid.

Each agent will have full authority to act independently, there will be new Mandatory Duties, Default Duties, and separate signing requirements for certain authorities like creating or revoking trusts, making gifts, disclaimers, and powers of appointment.

In addition, certain non family members will not be able to do certain things like support others, transfer certain interests in the principals property by gift, right of survivorship, beneficiary designation, disclaimer unless the POA provides otherwise.

rainbow lights.jpgNo one wants to plan for their future, especially when the planning involves a future which may not include you. Jacksonville Beach Estate Planning Attorneys will tell you to prepare your legal documents while you are healthy, and not when you become ill or disabled. There are numerous documents which will allow you to choose the individual(s) with whom you want to have the authority to make decisions for you on your behalf.

A Designation of Health Care Surrogate allows you to select who will consent to medical treatment in the event you are unable to make your own decisions. A Financial Durable Power of Attorney will permit your agent to make financial transactions and decisions as well as conduct everyday financial business for you, in the event that you become incapacitated.

Sit down with a Jacksonville Beach Estate Planning Attorney who is sensitive to the issues faced by the Gay and Lesbian Community and the importance of having these legal documents prepared.

combo-livingwill.jpgOne important aspect of the estate planning process is determining what will happen if one day you become incapacitated. The decisions that you make on a day to day basis will no longer be possible, therefore you will be required to rely on someone else to make these decisions for you. Two positions, the Florida Health Care Surrogate and Florida Durable Power of Attorney, can serve as decision makers when your time of need arises.

The designation of a Florida Healthcare Surrogate is vital to the estate planning process because this person will make the medical decisions for you in a situations where you are unable to do so. This does not mean that the person will always make medical decisions for you. Only when an individual becomes incapacitated to the point that the primary physician decides he/she can no longer make medical decisions for themselves. Situations such as this often arise when someone is unconscious.

A Florida Durable Power of Attorney determines your financial matters in the event you become incapacitated. It is important to choose a trusting person to whom you can assign this power because of the many responsibilities he or she will have. You can control the degree of power the person chosen has over financial matters but under most circumstances they will have complete control over your banking transactions, real estate transactions, and securities exchanges. In some cases this person can even run your business for you by making contracts and running the day to day operations.

gavel.jpgA couple was recently charged with theft and elder abuse for taking money from their elderly parents, under authority of a power of attorney to pay for personal expenses. These included vacations, plane tickets, lodging and meals. Matthew D. Gardner an Iowa Estate Planning Lawyer wrote about this case and the increasing frequency of elder abuse in the past year.

A Power of Attorney grants the agent (attorney-in-fact) broad powers to act in the best interest of he person. Often agents who accept this power do not understand that the money is not theirs to use as their own but the authority grants the agent the power to act in the other person’s best interest.

If you suspect that someone is misusing the Power of Attorney granted to them, report the information immediately to the local police who will be able to properly investigate the case. If you have been affected by this misuse you may have a claim against the agent for the harm they have caused you and should Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer

elderly300x247-380.jpg Recently we have begun seeing more cases involving agents who abuse their power of attorney in order to benefit themselves.

Most people do not realize that once they have become an agent for an individual, their duty is to act in the best interest of the individual and not for their own benefit. Sometimes agents make gifts to themselves or change the way bank or stock accounts are title so that the become the beneficiary upon the death of the individual. These actions are violations of the agents fiduciary duty and self dealing. Often what is done interferes with someone’s right to an expectancy as a beneficiary or owner of an account.

In addition to creating liability to the beneficiary or the decedent’s estate, in Florida such actions can also create criminal liability under Florida’s Elder Abuse Statutes. If you have been accused of actions like these it is important to coordinate your defense with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer who is familiar with Florida Abuse of the Elderly.

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