A power of attorney a person to designate another person to act on their behalf. It can be limited so that it applies to a specific transaction or made to be a general grant of power. The person granting the authority is referred to as the principal and the recipient of the power is the agent. A durable power of attorney survives to incapacity of the principal. A power of attorney ends with the death of the principal. Many people falsely believe that there is some continued designation of power, but any grant of authority ends at death.
In Florida the legislation in 2011 made changes to the requirements for a valid power of attorney. One of the changes was the elimination of springing power of attorney. Previously a power of attorney could be granted contingent upon the occurrence of some future event such as the incapacity of the principal. With the new wording in the statute the powers granted take affect immediately and springing power of attorney agreements signed after October 1, 2011 would not be valid. Another change allows copies of the power of attorney to be treated the same as the original. While this is convenient, it also means that you need to be more careful as to who you give the document. As a copy of the document can remain valid even after you destroy the original. Another change involved the designation of certain powers as requiring the grantor to initial next to the grant. By requiring certain powers to have initials helps to confirm and authenticate the grant of those powers.
Agents are required to perform their duties a fiduciary for the principal, considering the benefit that the principal will receive by the agent’s actions. This fiduciary relationship is one of trust, and the agent can be subject to civil or criminal penalties for violating that obligation.