Posts Tagged legal document

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


Living Wills in Florida

Family members often struggle with end-of-life decisions regarding a loved one. The decision to take a family member off life support can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life. Fortunately, there is an estate planning tool that families can utilize to help obliviate some of the stress and uncertainty associated with making end-of-life decisions for a family member. What Is a Living Will and What Does It Do? A living will is a legal document that sets out one’s end-of-life wishes. Specifically, a living will addresses the use of life support and other treatments at the end of one’s life or in the event of a serious accident or debilitating medical condition. In Florida, living wills are governed by Chapter 765, Healthcare Directives, of the Florida Statutes. Florida Statute § 765.101 (13) defines a living will as follows: (13) “Living will” or “declaration” means: (a) A witnessed document in writing, voluntarily executed by the principal in accordance with s. 765.302; or (b) A witnessed oral statement made by the principal expressing the principal’s instructions concerning life-prolonging procedures. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 765.302 (3), once executed, a living will establishes a rebuttable presumption of clear and convincing evidence of one’s wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. When Does a Living Will Apply? Pursuant to Florida Statute § 765.306(2), before one’s directives in a living will are carried through, it must be determined that: (a) One does not have a reasonable medical probability of recovering capacity to a level that he or she can make medical decisions directly. (b) One has a terminal condition, has an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. (c) Any limitations or conditions expressed orally or in a written declaration have been carefully considered and satisfied. In determining whether one has a terminal medical condition, has an end-stage