Like most people in Florida, you may have heard of a power of attorney. But, do you fully understand what it is and what it can do? This document can provide you or your loved ones with important abilities in the face of unforeseen circumstances. It essentially allows one person to make important decisions on behalf of another person when that person is unable to do so.

The National Caregivers Library notes that a power of attorney delineates two roles. The first is called the principal. This is the person who is agreeing to give up decision-making power if some form of incapacitation ultimately takes place. The second role is the attorney-in-fact. This is the person who is agreeing to take responsibility for making decisions for the principal if that person does become incapacitated.

A power of attorney can be developed when you set up a will or trust and that is the ideal time to do this but it can be done at any time so long as you are mentally competent at the time. Such preparation can be very helpful to your family members if you are suddenly rendered unable to make your own choices. The reasons that a power of attorney can be used for vary. One of these is to make decisions about medical needs or treatments. A power of attorney can also have control over financial decisions. This includes many things such as the cost of care or even the giving of gifts.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about what a power of attorney is or can do in Florida.

Luis E. Barreto