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The Florida Durable Power of Attorney

At some point in our lives, most of us will rely upon on a third party to make a legal or financial decision on our behalf. For example, an elder individual may rely upon a trusted family member or friend to manage his or her checking account at a local credit union. However, how does that credit union know this trusted family member or friend is authorized to make such decisions on your behalf? What Is a Durable Power of Attorney and What Does it Do? A durable power of attorney (“DPOA”) is a legal document that authorizes a third party (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to act on your behalf in the event you (the “principal”) become incapacitated or unable to handle your legal or financial affairs. Third parties (i.e., financial institutions, courts, etc.) rely upon this legal document as evidence that the agent has the authority to make decisions on the principal’s behalf. A DPOA is similar to a power of attorney (“POA”) in that both are legal documents that authorize a third party to act on your behalf. However, there is a key difference. With a POA, the agent’s power to act your behalf automatically ends (is revoked) in the event you become incapacitated. With a DPOA, the agent’s powers remain in full force and effect in the event you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions yourself. How Do You Create a Durable Power of Attorney in Florida? In Florida, durable powers of attorney are governed by Chapter 709, Powers of Attorney and Similar Instruments. Pursuant to Chapter 709, the following are required to create a valid durable power of attorney in Florida: The durable power of attorney must be signed by the principal, the agent, and two witnesses in front of a public notary. Florida Statute