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Establishing a durable power of attorney in Florida

It is an important part of a full life to plan for the disposition of one's assets and liabilities towards the end of life. Florida's high population of aging citizens has made the state a center for estate law and other services that help people plan to disburse their property and money according to their wishes.

Many people choose to assign a legally recognized representative to act on their behalf if they become unable or unreliable to act for themselves. This person has the "power of attorney," which allows him or her to manage, sell or invest the assets of a senior or disabled citizen.

These powers are largely over property or finances, although the durable power of attorney refers specifically to the case of end-of-life issues. People with chronic health care issues, including the need for life support, may wish to assign a competent person the power to make health-related decisions if they are or become unable to do so.

If a person wishes to make that determination before health issues prevent participation in one's own health care, he or she may draft a living will. This document includes instructions on how to proceed with health care in the event of non-responsiveness or another inability to communicate.

Durable power of attorney may be conveyed only to a person of competent mental ability to understand circumstances and make decisions for a person's health. The document must be executed by a competent adult and signed by two adult witnesses.

A legal advisor is instrumental in guaranteeing powers of attorney and other estate-related issues are conveyed as a person wishes. Communicate with a lawyer when preparing these documents or related legal action.

Source: FIndLaw, "Florida Durable Power of Attorney Laws," accessed Aug. 28, 2017

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