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Note to anyone who recently moved to (or vacations in) Florida

Florida has a new law on powers of attorney. The law is important for anyone who recently moved to Florida, as well as anyone who lives elsewhere but owns a vacation home there or regularly spends time in the state.

Florida will no longer accept powers of attorney unless they are signed by two witnesses and notarized. Also, powers must take effect immediately, rather than only if the person becomes incapacitated.

Power of attorney documents that were signed before October 1, 2011 are still valid in Florida even if they don’t meet these requirements, but:

  • A bank or other institution in Florida can refuse to accept an out-of-state document unless the agent provides a letter from an attorney saying the document is legally valid in its home state; and
  • If the power of attorney becomes effective only when the person is incapacitated, a bank or other institution in Florida can require the agent to provide a letter from the person’s “primary physician” certifying that the person is incapacitated, and this physician must be licensed under Florida law.

If you have a power of attorney document that doesn’t meet the new Florida requirements, you might want to consider updating it so that it will be more easily accepted if you need to use it in Florida.

 

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