Power of Attorney Florida: #1 How-To Guide from Preparation to Online Notarization

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Power of Attorney - Florida: A Guide to Preparation and Notarization

Navigating through life’s uncertainties becomes a tad bit easier with the right tools at hand. The Florida General Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is one such legal instrument that grants a chosen individual, known as the agent, the authority to manage your affairs if you’re unable to. 

Florida Durable Power of Attorney

This document not only provides peace of mind, but also ensures that your wishes are honored, and any potential conflicts among loved ones are minimized.

The Florida Power of Attorney Act and Its Types

The Act, which came into effect on November 1, 2014, introduced significant changes to the existing power of attorney laws. This legal document empowers an agent to make decisions on your behalf. The Florida Durable Power of Attorney remains valid even if you become incapacitated, a unique feature that distinguishes it from regular powers of attorney. There are several types of power of attorney documents, and it’s essential to choose the right one for your specific needs.

Key Features of a Florida Power of Attorney (DPOA): A Safety Net for Unpredictable Times

Life can be unpredictable. A DPOA offers a way to prepare for unforeseen events. By granting a trusted individual the authority to make crucial decisions in times when you might be incapacitated, it ensures that your best interests are always prioritized. 

This powerful document goes beyond financial matters and can extend to vital medical decisions.

Online Notarization & Apostille Service for Florida Power of Attorney: What You Need to Know

Updates to Florida Online Notary Laws

Starting July 1, 2020, Florida welcomed the use of remote online notaries (RON) in the execution of general durable power of attorney documents. However, due to their sensitive nature, strict protocols have been set for online notarization of these documents.

Our Company Policy on Online Notarization for a Durable Power of Attorney

At Florida Document Specialists, our commitment is to the letter of the law. While we aren’t lawyers, our policy ensures that:

  • The Florida power of attorney presented aligns with FS Chapter 709.
  • Signers from nursing homes, hospitals, or assisted living facilities must have witnesses physically present with them.
  • Other vulnerable adults, as defined by Florida Statute 415.102, can’t have their documents notarized online using remote witnesses.  They must be physically present with the principal.
  • “Superpowers” are not conveyed unless witnesses are physically present with the principal.

Remote Online Notary (RON) Session for a Durable Florida Power of Attorney: Additional Protocols

Pursuant to Florida Statutes regarding Remote Online Notarization, during a RON session, our notary will conduct a thorough identity verification process. The principal signer will be asked a series of questions, which will be audio-video recorded for compliance and record-keeping purposes. These questions may include, but are not limited to, the signer’s marital status, assistance received in document preparation, and current location. It is imperative to note that such protocols ensure a more formal signing process as mandated by the state regulations.

To ensure full compliance with Florida’s legal requirements for RON sessions, it’s essential to adhere to a rigorous and formal process during these sessions. The Statutes are specifically designed to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the notarization process, particularly when conducted remotely. The described protocols reflect the necessity to capture critical information from the principal signer. Ensure that signers are prepared and informed about these questions to make the process seamless.

Apostille Services for Florida Power of Attorney Documents

In today’s global environment, legal documents like the Florida Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) often need to be recognized and validated outside of the United States. Whether you’re dealing with foreign financial institutions, property transactions abroad, or other international matters, ensuring your DPOA is internationally recognized is crucial.

What is an Apostille?

An apostille is a certification provided under the Hague Convention of 1961 for authenticating documents for use in foreign countries. The primary function of the apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document.

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Our Apostille Service Process

Whether you’re preparing for international business, personal matters abroad, or just want the peace of mind of having an internationally recognized DPOA, our team is here to help by making the apostille process hassle free.

  1. Document Verification: We start by verifying your Florida Power of Attoeny to ensure it meets the requirements for apostille certification.
  2. Submission: We then carry your Power of Attorney to the Florida Department of State for apostille certification.
  3. Delivery: Once the apostille is affixed to your Power of Attorney, we promptly return the apostilled document to you, ensuring it’s ready for international use.

By choosing our apostille services, you can rest assured that your DPOA will be internationally recognized.  For more information about our apostille services, you can visit this page.

Our Document Preparation & Notarization Services

Tailored Power of Attorney Services

Florida Document Specialists offers clerical support in preparing the Florida General Durable Power of Attorney forms. We ensure that our documents suit remote online notarization based on the data you provide.

Transparent Flat Fee System for DPOA Services

At Florida Document Specialists, transparency and value are at the core of our services. We believe in straightforward pricing without hidden costs, ensuring you know exactly what you’re getting for your investment.

DPOA Document Preparation: Only $125

For a flat fee of $125, we meticulously prepare your Durable Power of Attorney document. If you’re considering combining this with our other estate planning document services – such as Wills, Advance Directive, Lady Bird Deed, and others – we are pleased to offer a discounted rate.

Comprehensive Online DPOA Execution Package: $180

For clients preferring the convenience of online services, our comprehensive package is perfect. Priced at $180, this package not only includes the preparation of your Durable Power of Attorney but also the provision of remote witnesses for online signing and notarization. You can execute your DPOA from the comfort of your home, while still ensuring its complete legality and validity.  Optional apostille services can be added to this package

With our flat fee structure, you never have to worry about unexpected costs or fees. Reach out today to get started with our straightforward, transparent DPOA services.

Special Power Requirements and Online Notarization

Florida’s “super powers” can only be conferred to agents if the principal has initialed next to each specific power. And while online notarization is allowed, physical presence of witnesses is mandatory.

What are the "Super Powers"?

The state of Florida provides certain “super powers” to agents via a power of attorney. As detailed in Florida Statute 709.2202, these powers can only be exercised by the agent if the principal has either signed or initialed next to each specific power. The following are examples of these “super powers”:

  • Creating an Inter Vivos Trust: This is a trust that the principal creates during their lifetime.
  • Modifying, Revoking, or Terminating a Trust: The agent can only do this for a trust created by or for the principal, and only if the trust instrument explicitly allows the agent to make such changes.
  • Making a Gift: Subject to specific conditions.
  • Creating or Changing Rights of Survivorship: Rights of survivorship determine what happens to certain property upon the principal’s death.
  • Creating or Changing a Beneficiary Designation: Beneficiary designations determine who receives the benefits of certain accounts or policies upon the principal’s death.
  • Waiving the Principal’s Right to Survivor Benefits: This could include benefits from a joint and survivor annuity or a retirement plan.
  • Disclaiming Property and Powers of Appointment: Disclaiming is essentially rejecting a gift or an inheritance.

In relation to notarization of these “super powers,” Florida allows for remote online notarization. However, it’s important to note that granting these powers through remote online notarization requires the physical presence of witnesses with the principal at the time of notarization. The utilization of remote witnesses is not permitted. This means that although the notarization can occur online, the witnesses must be physically present with the principal to validate the notarization and thus the conferment of these “super powers” to the agent.

It should be noted that most customers do not require “superpowers” when executing a durable power of attorney online.  You are encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation.

The Risk of "Free" Power of Attorney Forms

While tempting, it’s crucial to be wary of  downloading”free” forms online. Most are not up-to-date or suitable for Florida.

At Florida Document Specialists, our approach is personalized, with quick error resolution and opportunities for bundling services at discounted rates.

Remember, when considering such vital documents, it’s always advisable to consult with a licensed attorney. It’s all about planning wisely for peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is a Power of Attorney under Florida law?

    A Power of Attorney is a legal tool that allows you (the principal) to designate another individual (the agent) to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.

  • What differentiates a Durable Power of Attorney from a regular Power of Attorney?

    A Durable Power of Attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated, whereas a regular Power of Attorney typically ends if the principal becomes incapacitated.

  • How is a Power of Attorney notarized in Florida?

    A Power of Attorney in Florida can be notarized remotely. However, when it involves the granting of specific "super powers", the physical presence of witnesses with the principal is required during notarization.

  • What are the benefits of having a Durable Power of Attorney?

    A Durable Power of Attorney provides a level of preparedness, ensuring that someone you trust is authorized to handle your affairs if you become unable to do so.

  • How can a Durable Power of Attorney help reduce stress during challenging times?

    A Durable Power of Attorney can minimize stress by providing clear instructions about your preferences, reducing potential disputes among loved ones, and letting them focus on providing mutual support.

  • Can a Durable Power of Attorney be used for healthcare decisions?

    Yes, a Durable Power of Attorney can encompass crucial healthcare decisions, alongside financial matters.  However, most people also execute a document known as an "Advanced Directive" which is a two-part document containing a Living Will and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogacy.

  • What are the consequences of not having a Durable Power of Attorney if I become unable to manage my affairs?

    Without a Durable Power of Attorney, it may lead to confusion or disagreements about handling your affairs. This may necessitate legal proceedings to appoint a guardian or conservator.

  • Can I retract a Durable Power of Attorney?

    Yes, provided you are mentally competent, you can withdraw your Durable Power of Attorney at any given time.

  • Does my agent have unlimited access to my assets and properties?

    A durable power of attorney grants vast powers, but your agent has a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. They must manage your assets according to your directives in the Power of Attorney document.  Always choose a trusted person as your agent (attorney-in-fact).

  • Can I assign more than one person as my agent in my Durable Power of Attorney?

    Yes, you can name multiple agents and specify if they need to make decisions together or if they can act individually.

  • What is the role of a witness during the notarization of a Power of Attorney?

    The witness during the notarization of a Power of Attorney is there to confirm the identity of the principal and to ensure that they are signing the document willingly and independently.

  • What is a fiduciary duty in the context of a Power of Attorney?

    A fiduciary duty refers to the legal obligation of the agent to act in the best interest of the principal, avoiding conflicts of interest and acting with honesty and integrity.

  • How do I choose an agent for my Durable Power of Attorney?

    It’s crucial to select someone you trust, who understands your wishes, and who is capable of making responsible decisions. This could be a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional like a lawyer.

  • Can a Power of Attorney be used to manage my digital assets?

    Yes, in most cases, a Power of Attorney can be used to manage digital assets, but it's important to specify this in the document.

  • Does a Durable Power of Attorney extend beyond my death?

    No, all types of Power of Attorney, including durable ones, end upon the principal's death.

  • What is the process of revoking a Durable Power of Attorney?

    To revoke a Durable Power of Attorney, you generally need to issue a written notice of revocation to your agent and to any institutions or persons who have a copy of the Power of Attorney.

  • Can a Durable Power of Attorney be used to make end-of-life decisions?

    In Florida, a separate document called a Living Will is used for end-of-life decisions. However, you can designate your healthcare surrogate in your Durable Power of Attorney to make healthcare decisions when you are unable to do so.

    A better way is to execute an "Advanced Directive" which includes your Living Will and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate.

  • Does a Power of Attorney need to be registered in Florida?

    No, in Florida, a Power of Attorney does not need to be registered. However, if it involves real estate transactions, it must be recorded in the county where the property is located.

  • The agent's rights under a Power of Attorney are outlined in the document itself. They can vary widely but should always be executed with the principal's best interests in mind.

  • How can I ensure that my Power of Attorney is legally binding?

    To ensure your Power of Attorney is legally binding, it must be written, signed, dated, and notarized. It's also advisable to have it reviewed by a licensed attorney.

  • Can an agent be held liable for their actions under a Power of Attorney?

    Yes, an agent can be held liable if they act beyond their authority or do not fulfill their fiduciary duties.

  • What should be included in a Durable Power of Attorney document?

    A Durable Power of Attorney document should include the names of the principal and agent, the powers granted, when the powers begin, and when they end. It should also be signed, dated, and notarized.

  • What happens if my agent is unable or unwilling to serve?

    If your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve, the document can designate a successor agent to step in. If no successor agent is named, a new Power of Attorney will need to be created.

  • Can a Power of Attorney be used to manage a business?

    Yes, a Power of Attorney can be used to delegate business decisions and operations if you become unable to manage them yourself.