Skip to main content

How to Make a Power of Attorney in Florida FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Madison Hess, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 13, 2024

Still not sure what estate planning tools you need?

A power of attorney is essential when you can no longer handle your financial affairs due to an incapacity or even for convenience if you need help managing your daily life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A financial power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, the power to act on behalf of someone else, known as the principal. The agent handles financial transactions such as paying bills, managing property and investments, and ensuring you and your family have support. This differs from a medical power of attorney, where someone can access your medical records and make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Who Can Be My Agent?

An agent must be at least 18 years of age and competent. They have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and in the principal’s best interest. You can also name a financial institution to be your agent if they have trust powers, a place of business in Florida, and are authorized to do business in the state. Choosing a power of attorney is a critical decision. Your agent should be someone you trust, organized, and willing to take on the responsibility. Your agent has broad powers to handle your money and your life, so choose wisely.

While you can name co-agents, that can be very tricky. You have to decide if your co-agents can act independently (which may lead to confusion) or if they must act jointly (which may lead to conflicts where nothing gets done). It is better to name one person as your primary agent and have a backup or successor agent.

What Can My Agent Do in Florida?

In Florida, your agent can do anything you authorize them to do. For example, you may want to give your agent authority to:

  • Pay bills and manage your care
  • Conduct banking transactions
  • Handle investment transactions
  • Buy, sell, or manage tangible and intangible assets
  • Buy, sell, or manage real estate transactions
  • Handle insurance transactions
  • Receive and open your mail
  • Conduct your business operations
  • Borrow money on your behalf
  • File or defend claims and lawsuits
  • File tax returns
  • Distribute your income to support you and your family members
  • Handle retirement plan transactions

You must initial certain powers on your document to give your agent the specific authority to do them. This is because with these powers, your agent can reduce your estate. These powers are:

  • Create a revocable trust
  • Amend, modify, revoke, or terminate the trust, but only if the trust instrument explicitly provides for amendment, modification, revocation, or termination by the settlor’s agent
  • Make a gift of your assets
  • Create or change survivorship rights
  • Create or change beneficiary designations
  • Waive your right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Disclaim property and powers of appointment

However, under section 709.2201, there are certain things your agent can’t do for you, such as:

  • Perform duties under a contract that requires the exercise of personal services of the principal
  • Make any affidavit as to the personal knowledge of the principal
  • Vote in any public election on behalf of the principal
  • Execute or revoke any will or codicil for the principal
  • Exercise powers and authority granted to the principal as trustee or as court-appointed fiduciary

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Florida?

durable power of attorney remains effective even after you are incapacitated. For a power of attorney to be durable in Florida, it must contain language expressing that the “durable power of attorney is not terminated by subsequent incapacity of the principal” or similar language to that effect.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Under Florida statute section 709.2104, a power of attorney in Florida is effective immediately upon signing by the principal. That means an agent can immediately act on the principal’s behalf, even if the principal has the physical and mental capacity to handle their own affairs.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

A power of attorney ends upon the death of the principal. There are other situations when a power of attorney ends, such as:

  • The agent dies or is unable or unwilling to serve, and there is no successor agent.
  • The principal revokes the power of attorney.
  • The power of attorney is not durable, and the principal becomes incapacitated.
  • If there is a termination date or event in the power of attorney and that date or event occurs.
  • If the agent is your spouse, you divorce, and there is no successor agent.
  • A court terminates the power of attorney.

Because your power of attorney can end if you don’t have an agent, having a successor or backup agent in your power of attorney document is always a good idea.

Does Florida Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Florida does not have a statutory power of attorney form, but statutory provisions and language are required for a power of attorney to be durable under section 709.2104.

You can create your own power of attorney using online templates that conform with Florida law or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Florida?

Yes. You can make your own power of attorney if it complies with Florida law. Florida does not require you to use an attorney. The advantage of doing it yourself with online estate planning services is saving on time and money. However, you should consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice if you have questions or concerns about making a power of attorney.

Estate planning solutions to fit your needs.

Get 10% off now
This is an advertisement. FindLaw and its affiliates are not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.

How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Florida?

The principal must be 18 or older and the document must be signed by the principal before two witnesses and a notary public. The witnesses should be competent and not be related by blood or marriage. Additionally, the witnesses cannot be one of the agents you listed in your power of attorney.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney?

Yes. In Florida, you must sign your power of attorney in front of a notary public to be valid.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing, you should provide copies to your agent and any banks, financial institutions, or agencies where your agent may need access. Keep your original in a secure location. Your agent may have to complete an agent certification form or another form with a bank or financial institution where your agent verifies to a notary the power of attorney is currently effective, and that they have the authority to serve as your agent.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Florida?

Under section 709.2112, your agent can receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred while serving as your agent. They can also receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Florida Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. A power of attorney created and executed according to the laws of Florida will be honored in another state.

Can I Revoke My Florida Power of Attorney?

Yes. You can revoke your power of attorney as long as you are competent. You simply draft a “Revocation of Power of Attorney” document. In this document, you should reference the date of the original power of attorney and the agents named and include a statement that you are of sound mind and intend to revoke that power of attorney. Sign and date the revocation document before a notary and distribute it to your agents and any banks, financial institutions, or other places that may have your original power of attorney.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Florida?

A power of attorney is helpful when you need someone to handle your financial matters. However, you should also have a health care directive and a will for a complete estate plan.

health care directive, advance directive, or living will is a document where you make a designation of health care surrogate to make medical decisions and carry out your wishes for medical care. You can also detail instructions on what life-prolonging measures you want or do not want when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

In a Florida will, you can name who you want to manage your estate (your personal representative), who will inherit your property (your beneficiaries), and who should care for your young children and pets. Having a will puts you in control of your estate and speeds up the probate process, saving your loved one’s time and money in probate court.

Fortunately, making a valid power of attorney and creating other Florida estate planning documents is easy with online estate planning templates.


View videos on these media platforms:

Need help?

  • Find a lawyer
  • Search legal topics
Enter your legal issue
Enter your location