Don't wait until a crisis. Make sure your Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property will be honored when your agent presents it to your financial institutions.
What is a Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property and what does it do?
The Durable Power of Attorney helps avoid court guardianship by empowering an agent (s) to handle the financial affairs of an incapacitated person (the principal).. It is needed to manage assets that are not co-owned; or not in a trust, such as a 401K or IRA.
Financial Institutions: Picky about Powers of Attorney
Florida has certain minimal standards for a legally valid Durable Power of Attorney. However, there is no one, standard statutory form. The specific powers you want your agent to have must be included; otherwise, it is presumed that you did not intend to your agent to have that particular power. To protect the public and themselves, financial institutions are understandably cautious about honoring a Durable Power of Attorney. Every financial institution has its own standards. Also, Florida law gives financial institutions the right to review a Durable Power of Attorney to determine if it meets their requirements. Many agents have been turned away because a bank or brokerage did not accept a Florida Durable Power of Attorney, even though it met Florida's basic legal requirements. The review process can often be very slow, during which time the agent cannot transact business on behalf of the principal..
How can you be sure your agent will be able to handle your affairs using your Durable Power of Attorney?
Often, a financial institution's first look at a Durable Power of Attorney occurs when the agent shows up with it, desiring to handle the principal's affairs. Usually, the principal is already inacapacitated, which means the principal cannot take any corrective action if the financial institution finds the document deficient. To prevent this from happening to your agent, you should furnish your Durable Power of Attorney to your financial institutions in well in advance, before incapacity strikes. If the financial institution approves it, get the approval in writing and furnish a copy to your agent. If they do not accept the document, they are obligated to give you the reasons. In that case, you can tweak the document or find another financial institution that is more accommodating.
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