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Defining the different types of power of attorney

Few people i Hernando County want to think about dying, yet even fewer likely want to consider what might happen should they become incapacitated. Not having any written documentation stipulating who one wants to endow with decision-making privileges should he or she ever lose the power to do so can be just as risky as dying without a will, except that in the former scenario, there are no laws in place to help make up for one's lack of planning. 

Thus, the need to assign power of attorney to another could not be more clear. However daunting the thought of empowering another with such authority might be, it is a necessary step to take in order to retain some measure of control over one's assets, property and healthcare in the event of incapacitation. There are actually three different types of power of attorney privileges one can assign. According to the Florida Bar, these include: 

  • General: General power of attorney assigns whatever privileges the principal chooses to the agent. This type becomes effective whenever the principal stipulates. 
  • Limited: The is type of power of attorney allows one to only makes decisions for the principal in certain areas. Medical power of attorney, for example, allows the agent to manage the principal's care. 
  • Durable: While both general and limited power of attorney automatically end if the principal becomes incapacitated, durable power of attorney remains intact. For this reason, this is typically the most common type assigned to agents. 

Florida state law stipulates that in order to be granted power of attorney privileges, one need only be over the age of 18 or be a business authorized to operate in the state. Power of attorney privileges are only valid if the document assigning them is signed in the presence of witnesses before a notary public. 

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