Florida residents in the middle of estate planning might have heard of appointing power of attorney. These individuals, also known as attorney-in-fact, can make legal and financial decisions on your behalf under certain conditions.
When does an attorney-in-fact make decisions?
Your power of attorney will usually only be able to make decisions on your behalf when you are otherwise unable to. Sometimes if you’re in the hospital for a medical emergency, you might be incapacitated while you recover.
Other times, you might be out of the country – on vacation, military leave, etc. – and need someone in the United States to act on your behalf. However, there are limitations to what a power of attorney can and cannot do.
What can a power of attorney do?
A power of attorney can do things like complete business transactions and open or close accounts in your name. For example, your power of attorney will pay your bills until you recover fully.
The attorney-in-fact can also sign a contract in your name, sign your name to any tax returns, and manage property for you as well. They can also file a lawsuit on your behalf for any legitimate reason.
This person can’t make an estate plan on your behalf, or vote in an election. If you have any contractual obligations (like with an employer or client), a power of attorney can’t fulfill those obligations for you.
Who should be your power of attorney?
Choosing a power of attorney isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. The person you choose should be someone you trust, and who will also be up for the challenges of managing your business affairs.
Sometimes this person will be a friend or family member, but you can hire a professional to act as your power of attorney. Whatever decision you make, you should take the time to consider all of your options fully.