What to Know About Power of Attorney Laws in Florida
If you plan to include any form of power of attorney in your estate plan, it is important to be aware of the Florida state laws and regulations affecting powers of attorney.
The following are a few things you should know about power of attorney laws in the Sunshine State:
- You must properly sign the document: Florida law requires the principal (the person making the power of attorney) to sign the document in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public, who can also be one of the witnesses.
- Multiple agent laws: In years past, Florida law stated that if two agents were named in apower of attorney to act on the principal’s behalf, they both had to agree on the actions. If three or more agents were named, a majority vote would be required for all actions. Under changes to the law passed several years ago, multiple agents may now act independently of each other, unless the power of attorney states otherwise for a specific case.
- Effect of divorce: Under Florida law, a divorce triggers an automatic revocation of a spouse’s power of attorney authority. The divorce does not have to be finalized for this power to be revoked — simply filing the petition of divorce nullifies the spouse’s authority.
- Springing powers of attorney no longer exist: Florida no longer recognizes “springing” powers of attorney, which go into effect upon the incapacitation of the principal. Instead, all powers of attorney are effective immediately upon signing. The only exception is for springing powers of attorney signed before October 1, 2011.
- Agents must follow the principal’s wishes: Any agent with power of attorney is expected to preserve the estate planning goals of the principal to the fullest reasonable extent.
To learn more about establishing power of attorney and the Florida state laws you need to know, contact a knowledgeable Pensacola estate planning attorney at The Law Office of Zachary T. Magaha.