Using a Durable Power of Attorney in Florida
When you have been appointed as an agent by a person to act as an attorney-in-fact for that person, you must keep three important ideas in mind.
Because you are acting as an agent, you are obligated to either act in accordance with specific instructions given to you by the principal (the person who appointed you) and/or in that person’s best interest. If you are making independent decisions on behalf of your principal, you must think carefully about the situation and be certain you can justify your decision as being in the best interest of the principal. It is important to understand what powers you have been granted and that your authority ends when the principal dies.
You must keep in mind that you are acting for another person, not for yourself. It is very important that you disclose the agency relationship when you are signing documents on behalf of the principal. This means you do not sign documents or conduct business in your own name, but rather in the name of your principal. If you sign documents in your own name, you may become liable for the debt or liability arising out of that signature.
The proper way to disclose the agency relationship and to sign a document in the principal’s name using a Power of Attorney is as follows: Principal’s name By Agent’s Name as Attorney-in-fact
A person acting on behalf of another with a Power of Attorney should always keep good records of all actions and transactions performed on behalf of the principal with the Power of Attorney. It is possible that the principal, or a guardian, trustee, or executor on behalf of the principal, may call upon the agent to account for his actions on behalf of the principal. Good records are essential to protecting the principal’s interest and to protecting the agent against accusations of acting improperly.
In summation: (1) keep in mind you are acting on behalf of another person’s best interest; (2) disclose the agency relationship in all signatures on behalf of the principal; and (3) keep complete records so there can be no question about what you did as attorney-in-fact or why.