Power of Attorney & Living Wills
A Power of Attorney is often a misunderstood document. It is a legal document in which you appoint one or more persons as your agent with the power to transact financial matters on your behalf. Under Florida law, the Power of Attorney is effective when it is executed, thus giving your agent the immediate ability to act for you. However, it does not take away or diminish any right you have to act on your own as long as you are competent to do so.
A Power of Attorney can be “durable” (surviving your incapacity) or it can be quite limited in scope or duration. All powers granted to your agent under a Power of Attorney are void immediately upon your death.
Living Wills are a written expression of your wishes regarding what type of medical treatment you would want in the event of your terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. You can state in advance whether you would want life-sustaining treatment, such as assisted mechanical breathing with a ventilator and artificial feeding and hydration.
A Power of Attorney and a Living Will plan for different aspects of your life in the event of your incapacity. Both are part of a complete estate plan.