DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
Planning for incapacity and/or disability in life is crucial at any age. Whether it be a disabling illness or injury, or the need to be absent from home while traveling, having a durable power of attorney document is suggested.
A durable power of attorney document, also known as a durable POA, legally enables a person (the “principal”) to appoint a trusted person (the “agent”), to handle specific legal and financial responsibilities on their behalf. This document remains in effect while the principal is incapacitated until death, unless the principal chooses to revoke it. Typically, the designated agent is a trusted person such as a spouse, relative, or friend, who will act in the principal’s best interest.
Relatively inexpensive, the durable power of attorney allows the agent to immediately step in and manage the principal’s affairs in the event of sudden or unexpected incapacity. This document can avoid the inconvenience and expense of having to file a lengthy guardianship proceeding in the court.
A durable power of attorney should be prepared and executed in accordance with the Florida statutory requirements. The principal must be competent when signing a durable power of attorney, i.e. be able to understand what he or she is signing at the time the document is signed. The principal must understand to whom the effective powers are given, as well as what property is affected by the power of attorney.
Your attorney at Hartbrodt Law will help you draft this document with powers specified as broadly, or as limited, as you desire, and ensure that it complies with Florida law.
HEALTHCARE SURROGATE DESIGNATION
The healthcare surrogate designation, sometimes referred to commonly as a medical power of attorney, is a document which authorizes another individual to act as your agent with the ability to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This document does not supersede the individual’s ability to make his or her own healthcare decisions while still able to communicate verbally or in writing. The healthcare surrogate (agent) only steps in when the ability to make one’s own medical decisions is not possible and may be freely revoked by the person giving authorization at any time.
The healthcare surrogate designation may or may not be used in conjunction with a living will, which has a much more limited scope pertaining to the individual’s preference regarding artificial means of sustaining life. See “living will” for more information.
Your attorney at Hartbrodt Law can help draft and execute a healthcare surrogate to ensure that it complies with the Florida statutory requirements.
A living will is a document which takes effect while you are still living, and states your desires as to whether or not certain medical treatment should be received. Specifically, the living will allows the individual to decide in advance if he or she does not want life to be artificially prolonged in certain circumstances.
This document is often used in conjunction with a healthcare surrogate designation to ensure that the appointed surrogate carries out the principal’s wishes regarding end-of-life treatment. By formally stating one’s desires in advance, it spares the family members and loved ones from having to make the difficult task of end-of-life decision making.
Your attorney at Hartbrodt Law will draft your living will so that it properly expresses your desires while complying with Florida statutes.
DECLARATION NAMING PRENEED GUARDIAN
In the event of incapacity, this document allows you to designate an individual to be appointed guardian over you (or your children), for the care of one’s person and/or property. This individual need not be the same for each role, unless so desired. It is important to note that a declaration naming preneed guardian must be signed while one still has capacity. Therefore, early planning is essential. If you do not designate a guardian in advance of incapacity, then the court will choose a guardian for you if needed. This document allows you to have control over who that guardian will be.
Your attorney at Hartbrodt Law can prepare a declaration naming preneed guardian for you either with a disability/estate planning package, or a la carte.
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