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Capacity for Power of Attorney in Florida

Orlando, FL |

What constitutes legal capacity for purposes of granting power of attorney? My grandfather was recently in a car accident and is in the hospital. He wants to give my mother power of attorney so she can pay his bills and handle legal matters on his behalf surrounding the accident. He has the mental capacity to grant power of attorney (to which his doctors agreed) but he is physically unable to sign; he cannot even hold a pen to draw a line. If he has the mental capacity to understand his actions, does he need the physical ability to sign. He fractured his neck and cannot hold a pen in his mouth either. Unfortunately, no one has the money to go through the guardianship procedure (we were told by an attorney that it costs $6500) or to pay his bills in the interim without accessing his account where his modest social security income is directly deposited. Any guidance you can offer is appreciated.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Thanks for your question. My experience is that if I determine that client has mental capacity to make a decision-I will hold their hand and help them sign document. The document to be signed in your question would be a power of attorney to avoid the high cost of guardianship.

  2. Thanks for your question. Since I am an attorney, I cannot ethically give you specific legal advice on your situation, since you are not my client, but I can only provide you with general information that you may find helpful.

    Generally, a person needs to have the same mental capacity to execute a Will. The fact that the person is physically disabled (and can not make a mark without assistance) is irrelevant to the person having capacity. In such situations, an attorney is likely to ask for a statement from the attending physician that the person is mental competent, and will likely assist the person in signing or marking the document.

    The best advice that I can recommend to you is to contact a local estate planning attorney that can assist you and your family.

    Best of luck,

    Shawn C. Newman, Esq.
    Attorney At Law
    1881 NE 26th Street, Suite 212E
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
    (877) 552-9385

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