What Are The Limits Of A Florida Financial Power Of Attorney?
There is sometimes a misunderstanding about the scope of a Florida Power of Attorney (POA). Some people think signing a POA means giving another person absolute and complete control over their lives. But a POA only grants as much–or as little–power as the principal wishes.
Indeed, some POAs are limited to performing a specific task, such as authorizing an agent to sell the principal’s house or manage a specific stock portfolio. Of course, a POA can be much broader in scope. And yes, it can mean delegating effectively complete control over a person’s finances–but again, this is only the case if that is what the principal decides is best.
Some of the more common powers granted to an agent under a POA include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- conducting banking transactions, including opening and closing accounts or renting a safe deposit box;
- borrow money on behalf of the principal, including mortgaging any of the principal’s real property;
- applying for government benefits on behalf of the principal;
- managing the principal’s retirement plans;
- preparing and filing the principal’s tax returns, and paying any taxes due;
- purchasing insurance on the principal’s behalf;
- purchasing, selling, renting, leasing, or managing real estate on behalf of the principal;
- managing any investment portfolios (i.e., stocks and bonds) on behalf of the principal;
- make gifts of the principal’s property to others; or
- obtain and pay for legal advice on behalf of the principal.
Once again, it is important to emphasize that a POA is not an “all-or-nothing” deal. As the principal signing the POA, you can pick-and-choose which of these powers you wish your agent to have. You could even name different agents to exercise different powers.
Are There Powers You Cannot Grant Under a POA?
Florida law does impose some limitations on what authority you may delegate to an agent using a power of attorney. For example, you cannot authorize your agent to sign an affidavit attesting to facts that you personally witnessed. Your agent cannot also act on your behalf in a state or federal election–i.e., they cannot vote for you. An agent also cannot execute or revoke a will on your behalf.
What If My Agent Exceeds Their Authority?
An agent acting under a POA is considered a legal fiduciary. This means that if they exceed their authority under the POA or otherwise abuse their position, you have the right to take legal action and seek restitution from the agent. In some cases, state or federal prosecutors may pursue criminal charges against the agent.
Contact Florida Power of Attorney Disputes Lawyer Mark R. Manceri Today
A power of attorney is an important legal document that can help ensure your financial affairs are properly managed in the event of your incapacity. But if something goes wrong and you need to consult with a qualified Pompano Beach power of attorney disputes lawyer, contact the offices of Mark R. Manceri, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.