Naples Power of Attorney
Any comprehensive Estate Plan will include one or more Powers of Attorney as appropriate to the needs of the individual. While Wills and Trusts can make sure that assets are distributed to family and charities with taxes and Probate duly considered, a Power of Attorney can help protect an individual’s estate during any period of incapacity, however temporary. In Naples and southwest Florida, Nici Law Firm, P.L., provides complete and thorough Estate Planning from a Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates with more than 25 years of experience helping people from Marco Island to Estero and Bonita Springs create an inclusive estate plan that meets all their needs. Call our office at 239-449-6150 or contact online for a complimentary consultation, to review your estate and discuss your needs and desires, including drafting a Naples Power of Attorney to protect your legal and financial affairs.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person (not necessarily an attorney) to act in your place and make decisions that have legal effect. The person holding a Power of Attorney is typically known as the “attorney-in-fact” or your “agent.”
Depending on how a Power of Attorney is drafted, it may be considered “durable” or “springing.” A General Durable Power of Attorney is one you grant while you still have capacity, and it stays in effect even if you become incapacitated. A Springing Power of Attorney, on the other hand, is one that only springs into effect in the event of incapacity or some other triggering event noted in the instrument. Once you regain capacity, you can revoke a Power of Attorney if you desire.
Why have a Power of Attorney?
Sometimes people grant a Power of Attorney to have somebody represent them and act as their agent in a particular business deal or other legal or financial transaction. In the context of Estate Planning, a Power of Attorney is generally executed to allow a person to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. For instance, your agent could do your banking for you, write checks from your account to pay your mortgage and other bills, buy or sell property, manage your business, prepare and file tax returns or hire an accountant to do your taxes, etc.
A person with Power of Attorney might also be empowered to make medical decisions regarding your health care, such as what treatments you do or don’t receive, but matters such as these are often better addressed through the number of Advance Directives authorized by Florida law.
Does the bank have to recognize my Power of Attorney?
Some banks around the country refuse to accept Powers of Attorney unless they are drafted on the bank’s own form because the bank fears being liable for accepting a fraudulent Power of Attorney. A person with Power of Attorney can withdraw or transfer funds or even close an account, and the bank doesn’t want to be liable for funds stolen by a person with an invalid Power of Attorney.
In Florida, banks are required by law to honor Powers of Attorney when they are presented. If funds are stolen through a fraudulent Power of Attorney, banks in Florida are only liable if the document was obviously fraudulent or revoked.
That said, bank employees are often on the front lines of spotting elder abuse and in a position to do something about it. Bank workers may have had a relationship with the individual for years and suspect something is wrong with a power of attorney. If a Florida bank rejects a Power of Attorney, it has four days to explain the rejection in writing. Reasons for rejection could be:
- The bank believes the principal is being subjected to elder financial abuse or physical abuse by the agent
- The bank is waiting on a lawyer’s opinion or an affidavit it has requested from the agent
- The bank knows the agent’s authority has been revoked
- The bank has a good faith belief that the document isn’t valid or the agent is going beyond the authority granted in the Power of Attorney
Discuss Powers of Attorney with an Estate Planning Expert in Naples
A Power of Attorney is certainly something to consider and talk over with your attorney as you draft or revise your Florida Estate Plan. In Marco Island, Estero and Bonita Springs in southwest Florida, call Nici Law Firm, P.L., in Naples at 239-449-6150, or contact us online to discuss your needs with a skilled and knowledgeable Florida Board-Certified Estate Planning Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates.