Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Why Have a Durable Power of Attorney?

Joseph S. Karp
There’s a common misconception that your spouse can handle your financial affairs for you if you are disabled or incapacitated. It’s a misconception. Your spouse can’t sign your name on a deed. Your spouse can’t access your IRA or your 401k. In order to do that, your spouse needs to have a Durable Power of Attorney, which gives that person the ability to manage your financial affairs. That’s not just for your spouse, that’s for anybody you want to manage your affairs, everybody, but I give you the example of the spouse because that’s the most noteworthy misconception. You may need somebody to assist in handling and accessing your assets, to handle things for you and that’s why you need a Durable Power of Attorney. You can’t take an off-the-rack form for that, because the laws are very clear and detailed. We have found in our experience in our law firm that many people have Durable Powers of Attorney that are out-of-date, and that do not comply with the laws of the State of Florida. Have a Durable Power of Attorney reviewed, and make sure it does what you need it to do, so somebody can handle and assist your affairs for you, if need be.