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The importance of a power of attorney

Appointing someone you trust as your financial power of attorney is a preventive measure that should be addressed, even if you are not advanced in age. While it may not be likely that your power of attorney will need to soon step in, it is important to be prepared in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. If you are not able to take care of your own financial affairs and do not have a power of attorney document, your family will have to fight for authority over your finances in court, which may lead to a long drawn-out process. The person you choose should be competent in terms of common sense and dependability and also live nearby in case he is needed immediately.

The process for naming your power of attorney is fairly simple, and your choice will normally go into effect as soon as the necessary paperwork is completed. If you do not want the document to become legal until after a doctor certifies you as incapacitated, you will want what is called a “springing” durable power of attorney. If you want your POA to cease when you are deemed incapacitated, a “durable” power of attorney should be completed.

Otherwise, when does my power of attorney end?

Aside from the time of your death, your power of attorney will stop when:

  • You revoke it – You must be mentally competent in order to revoke your power of attorney. If so, this can be done at any time.
  • You get a divorce – Since your power of attorney is not automatically ended in the event of a divorce in the state of Florida, it is wise to name someone other than your spouse to be your power of attorney after filing for divorce.
  • A court invalidates your document – In some rare cases, a court may discredit your document if you were under duress or not in a capable state of mind when the document was signed.
  • No attorney-in-fact is available – In addition to your attorney-in-fact, it is important to name an alternate attorney-in-fact on your power of attorney document.

If you have questions about naming a power of attorney or are wondering how to properly complete your document, a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer in West Palm Beach can certainly help. We invite you to call the experienced team at Kelley & Fulton for more information about finances, bankruptcy, or anything else that may pertain to your current legal situation.