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Significant Changes to Florida Financial Powers of Attorney

November 07, 2011

Florida enacted significant revisions to its Chapter 709 governing financial Powers of Attorney. The changes became effective October 1, 2011. Powers of Attorney executed prior to October 1, 2011 remain valid for Florida residents. However, any new Powers of Attorney or any changes to an existing Power of Attorney will need to comply with the new laws.

Following is a brief summary of the major changes to Florida's financial Power of Attorney laws:

  • You may no longer create Springing Powers of Attorney (except for military powers of attorney) under Florida law. Springing Powers of Attorney become effective at a later date, usually the incapacity of the principal creating the power of attorney. Although Springing Powers of Attorney executed before October 1, 2011 are grandfathered, to activate a grandfathered Springing Power of Attorney, it must be verified by the principal's primary physician.
  • Powers of Attorneys must enumerate each and every power that the agent will need to exercise. A general or blanket statement granting the agent powers is no longer sufficient to grant powers.
  • Certain powers such as the ability to make a gift or the creation or amendment of a trust need to be separately signed or initialed in the Power of Attorney document by the principal creating the Power of Attorney.
  • An agent acting for the principal under the Power of Attorney document is not eligible for compensation unless the agent is a Florida resident that has never been an agent for more than 3 principals at the same time unless the agent is the spouse or an heir of the principal, a financial institution that has Florida trust powers or a Florida licensed attorney or CPA. All agents may receive reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred.
  • A third person may require an agent to execute an affidavit regarding the validity of the Power of Attorney document.

If you have any questions regarding your Durable Power of Attorney document or if you need to update your estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact one of our estate planning attorneys.

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