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Florida Changes Laws for Financial and Health Care Powers of Attorney

Florida estate planning lawyers help clients take the long view, particularly with regard to financial issues and the way a legacy can be preserved and distributed through wills, trusts and other strategies. Just as important, an attorney can explain a client's many options to resolve important issues during life through legal designations such as guardianships, conservatorships, health care directives and powers of attorney.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Florida significantly revised the state statute that governs the appointment of financial and health care decision-making powers. The changes, which went into effect on October 1, affect several important.htmlects of the process for designating temporary or durable powers of attorney to a trusted individual.

The new Florida Power of Attorney Act was passed in order to make Florida law conform more closely with other states under the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, a model code completed by the Uniform Law Commissioners in 2006. Those changes, already enacted in ten other states, are intended to provide an uncomplicated means for power-granting principals to take property-related issues into account in the event of future incapacity, while also encouraging recognition of powers of attorney by third parties and providing clearer guidance to appointed agents.

A Florida Probate Lawyer Can Explain the Implications of the New POA Law

One important.htmlect of Florida's new Power of Attorney Act is that amended provisions for the execution of powers do not have retroactive effect, and therefore will not impact the validity of powers that have already been executed. Nonetheless, clients with plans in effect that specify powers to a legally designated agent will likely want to understand the implications of changes involving duties of agents, gifting powers, and the implications of new "super" appointment powers.

Notably, Springing Powers of Attorney, which only go into effect upon a determination of the principal's incapacity, will no longer be allowed in Florida - including unexecuted powers that were designated but not executed before October 1. A Florida power of attorney lawyer can explain the implications of this change and help clients create new powers or bring existing plans into compliance.