Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a written instrument that allows an individual, the "Principal," to designate someone else as his or her "attorney-in-fact," to act on the Principal's behalf. This Power will survive subsequent disability or incapacity of the Principal. This document is extremely powerful and important in Florida. It in many instances, replaces a guardianship. This document is useful, as it may allow, if properly drafted, someone else to establish a Qualified Income Trust, pay taxes, handle the actual Application, Gift to others, and many more planning opportunities.
In 1995, the Florida Legislature drastically changed the underlying laws governing durable powers of attorney. Under Florida law, a power of attorney must be "durable" in order to survive a person's incapacity.
Care must be taken in naming your attorney-in-fact. Your attorney-in-fact will have the ability to deal with your bank accounts and other assets; and may do so in a less than honest fashion or negligent manner. Therefore, that person must be someone you trust and who is qualified to deal with financial matters, or have the wisdom to hire someone who is qualified when they are unable to.
Special Note: The DPOA is the most important Nursing Home Medicaid pre-planning document you should have.