J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Florida's durable power of attorney

For many people, health changes in life can be unexpected. While someone can be completely healthy one day, the next they can be fighting to survive. Because life is so unpredictable, it is important to plan for emergencies. A durable power of attorney can be a useful tool when planning for life's unexpected accidents.

A durable power of attorney is used in situations when a person needs serious medical care and cannot make the decisions on their own. In these cases, the sick are often on ventilators or other life support and cannot make their medical decisions known. A durable power of attorney names another trusted individual to make these decisions -- like if the person should remain on life support -- on behalf of the sick individual.

In Florida, a durable power of attorney can be created by a person under certain conditions. In order to make a valid durable power of attorney, the person must be competent to make medical decisions. The durable power of attorney must be signed by the person. This signature must be witnessed by two adults.

Under Florida law, there are several ways to revoke a durable power of attorney. These include a signed, dated writing, orally stating the person's intent to revoke, signing subsequent healthcare directives or durable powers of attorney or through divorce.

There are many technical details that need to be followed when people are creating a durable power of attorney or any estate planning document. People need to make sure they understand and abide by all these rules so that their wishes will be carried out. An attorney can help people create the best possible estate plan and ensure that it complies with all applicable Florida laws.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Florida Durable Power of Attorney Laws," accessed Dec. 28, 2014

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