Florida Durable Power of Attorney as an Advanced Directive

Written by Collett P Small. Esquire on . Posted in Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a powerful legal document by which one person (the "principal") appoints another person ("agent" or "attorney in fact"), to act on their behalf. Authority is conferred on the agent to perform certain acts or functions on behalf of the principal, such as executing contracts, applying for benefits, buying or selling real estate and handling bank accounts. The extent of the powers granted by the DPOA depends on the language of the document itself. An agent does not need to be an attorney as some believe the name suggest. However, the agent has to be a competent adult whom the principal trusts and should be someone who is familiar with the principal's wishes.

A well written and properly executed DPOA may serve as an advanced directive and avoid the need for guardianship proceedings should the principal later become incapacitated. Compared to a guardianship a DPOA provides the element of control as it allows the principal control over who can make decisions on their behalf, as well as, over the powers an agent is allowed to exercise. In guardianship proceedings these decisions are usually made by a Judge. No judicial proceedings are necessary to establish a DPOA.

Planning for Health Care Decision Making

Written by Collett P. Small, Esquire on . Posted in General

Proper planning for health care decision making includes several key components: First is selecting a person (surrogate or agent) who will make health care related decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. Second involves the execution of health care advance directive documents to make your wishes known.

It is critical to select a person whom you trust to be your agent as this person will be making medical decisions for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. Consequently, it is very important that once you have selected an agent that you discuss your wishes with them. It is also a good idea to discuss your wishes with your family, loved ones and health care providers. It is also recommended that that you provide your healthcare providers with a copy of all health care advance directive documents that you sign.