Overview of Power of Attorney Disputes in Florida
A power of attorney is a legal document that delegates authority from the Principal (the person making the Power of Attorney) to an Agent (the person who has authority to act on the Principal’s behalf). The types of powers granted under a Power of Attorney will vary depending on the language included. You can draft a Power of Attorney to be very limited or it can be broad. When you retain a Florida estate planning attorney, he or she will usually have you prepare one as a precaution in case of incapacitation.
However, not all Power of Attorney documents are created willingly. And, that can lead to disputes and family members who want to challenge the appointment, or the provisions contained in the document. When there is a dispute brewing or you need to formally contest a Power of Attorney, you should contact an experienced Pompano Beach power of attorney dispute attorney for assistance.
Why Would Someone Contest a Power of Attorney?
There are multiple reasons that someone might want to contest the appointment of a Power of Attorney. It’s important to remember that a Power of Attorney is only supposed to benefit the principal, not the agent or anyone else. One of the most common reasons someone contests the Power of Attorney is due to lack of capacity of the principal. Someone may see signs that the principal is no longer competent and therefore he or she is unable to contest the Power of Attorney on their own.
Another reason for contesting a Power of Attorney could be because an interested party feels all the required legal formalities were not followed when it was created. Lastly, someone may feel the agent is abusing their position, and therefore wants to get them removed for the protection of the principal.
How Power of Attorney Disputes are Handled?
When a dispute arises, the court can review an agent’s conduct to determine whether the power of attorney needs to be removed or whether it’s necessary to end the agent’s authority. Florida Statute 709.2116 covers Florida Power of Attorney rules. To initiate a Court proceeding, the petitioner must show they have a valued interest in the principal’s welfare and has a good faith belief that it’s necessary for the court to intervene. People who may initiate proceedings include a trustee, conservator, the principal’s guardian, and more.
Once the petition is filed, the case will proceed with what’s known as discovery. This is where your attorney presents evidence supporting the petition. Your attorney is likely to issue a number of subpoenas for evidence before the hearing takes place to ensure all the necessary supporting documentation is available for the court to review.
Another option to contest a power of attorney is asserting a technical error. Technical errors could be something like the power of attorney was not signed by the principal or it was not witnessed by another party, etc. If there is a valid technical error present, this can be an easier route to challenge the power of attorney.
Contact a Pompano Beach Estate and Trust Litigation Attorney
Contesting a power of attorney is not necessarily simple, which is why you need to retain an experienced attorney. If you want to dispute a power of attorney in Florida, contact Pompano Beach power of attorney dispute attorney Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.