When you are estate planning, your estate planning attorney likely brought up a Power of Attorney (POA). Essentially, these legal designation documents allow someone to act as your agent or on your behalf when you cannot. However, there are many types of POAs, and they can do a lot of things, including some special Florida-approved superpowers.
Why do we need POAs?
When you are estate planning, the person in charge of your estate is the executor of your will. However, this does not mean that they need to do everything. And, if you are not dead, your executor will not have power. This is when a POA can kick in.
A POA can allow someone to make your healthcare decisions, sell items, pay bills, etc. And, you can have different designations for different things. For example, you can have a POA for someone to run your business, another to pay bills and yet, another to make your healthcare decisions.
How can I get a POA?
Healthcare proxies and healthcare POAs are often available at hospitals or on hospital websites. Your PCP may have one as well. Your local legal bar association may have some forms as well. However, to ensure that you are creating the appropriate and enforceable POA, it is best done by your estate-planning attorney.
In Florida, we allow for POA superpowers. In other words, we allow your agents to do much more than some other states allow, which gives you the power to give them these superpowers. First, you can actually have a POA to create an inter vivos trust. This could be useful if you become incapacitated. Second, you can also use a POA to modify or terminate a trust that is already created, assuming the trust itself allows it.
As for your will or other estate planning documents, a POA superpower can include making gifts and creating or changing beneficiaries or rights of survivorship. Other superpowers include the ability to change a survivor benefit in a retirement plan or annuity and disclaim property and other powers of appointment. However, there are specific ways to create such superpowers that are in addition to the requirements to make a valid Florida POA.