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1111 3rd Avenue West, Suite 300
Bradenton, FL 34205

Phone: (941) 748-4411
Fax: (941) 748-1573
Email: info@dyefirm.com
08/01/2011 - FL Power of Attorney Legal Alert!

The Florida Legislature has enacted a new Florida Power of Attorney Act, which takes effect on October 1, 2011. The Act includes many changes to existing law and restricts who is qualified to serve as the principal's agent.

For those principals executing powers of attorney after October 1, 2011, there will be many restrictions imposed by the Act, some of which will be retroactive and applicable to powers of attorney executed before October 1, 2011. Under the new Act, qualified agents will be limited to a spouse, an attorney or a certified public accountant (CPA), a financial institution with trust powers and an office in Florida, your next of kin or heir under Florida's intestate laws or a Florida resident who has never served as an agent for more than three people at a time. Also, unless the agent is a spouse or relative, the agent cannot make gifts of the principal's assets to the agent, whether by current gift, right of survivorship, beneficiary designation or otherwise, unless the power of attorney form specifically includes separate paragraphs signed by the principal granting such authority. This is a significant change to the existing law.

With the passage of this new legislation, after October 1, 2011, it will not be possible to list non-Florida residents as qualified agents unless they fall within the narrow field of permitted persons. However, the new Act states that powers of attorney executed before October 1, 2011, will still be accepted, even if persons named as agents would not be allowed under the new Act.

All persons who currently have a Power of Attorney should carefully review their document and decide if it would be in their best interest to execute a new Durable Power of Attorney which names additional individuals who can act on your behalf if your current agent or agents become unable to act for you and/or to specifically enumerate the gifting and estate planning powers required in the new law.

For those persons who do not currently have a Power of Attorney, it may be prudent to consider whether one should be executed prior to October 1, 2011. The new law can be found on the Florida Legislature's website. The bill number is "CS for SB 670".