Florida Power of Attorney Disputes
When someone creates their estate plan, it can be an emotional process. Especially because the decisions you make during this process can cause problems down the line between family members. People may challenge your decisions on how you opted to allocate your assets, or they may question your choices on who is managing your affairs.
One area that tends to cause a lot of feuds is who you choose as your power of attorney. Family members may accuse the person of abusing their powers, or claim they are running off with all your money. When these disputes cannot be resolved and turn into a litigated matter, it’s imperative to involve a Pompano Beach estate litigation attorney who can help.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Before you understand disputes, it’s important to understand what a power of attorney is in the first place. A power of attorney is a legal document that delegates authority from one person to another. The person who creates the power of attorney is known as the principal and the person who has the right to act on your behalf is the agent. The powers that the agent has will vary based on the document. It can be broad or specific and limited.
Florida Law and Super Powers
Florida is very aware of the potential for abuse by a power of attorney. Because of this, there is a requirement in Florida that applies to specific types of powers that are most susceptible to abuse. These are commonly known as “super powers.” Any of these particular powers must be signed off on individually. Super powers give an agent the right to do any of the following:
- Create or change a named beneficiary;
- Create or change survivorship rights;
- Waive a principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, which includes survivor benefits afforded under a retirement plan;
- Disclaim powers of appointment and property;
- Create an intervivos trust; or
- Make certain types of gifts.
Florida law also specifically states what types of powers cannot be delegated. Some of these include:
- Agents cannot vote in any public election on behalf of the principal;
- Agents cannot exercise powers and authority granted to a principal that relate to a court-appointed fiduciary or trustee;
- Agents cannot perform duties under a contract that involve the agent’s personal services;
- Agents cannot revoke or execute any will or codicil for the principal; and
- Agents cannot complete an affidavit that relates to personal information known by the principal.
Power of Attorney Disputes
Disputes typically arise over financial situations. Sometimes it involves actual abuse of power, which then lead to a family member stepping in. It may also involve allegations that the power of attorney was not valid in the first place. There are requirements on who can be a power of attorney in the first place. Litigation may be started based on behalf of the principal to ensure their rights are protected. These can be complex matters, and you need an experienced attorney who can help.
Contact a Florida Estate Litigation Attorney Today
If you need assistance with a power of attorney dispute, contact Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation lawyer Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.