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What is a Durable Power of Attorney, and What is Its Purpose

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document which conforms to and is governed by Chapter 709 of our Florida Statutes, known as the “Florida Power of Attorney Act”.

Its purpose is to facilitate and authorize another to act as one’s legal and financial agent. The effect is often described as authorizing another to “stand in your shoes” if needed.
The use of a Durable Power of Attorney, involves three different parties. The “principal” is the one who signs the document, giving authority to another. The “agent” is the one which receives the authority. In addition a “third party” relies on the document and acts pursuant to it. A third party is any bank, financial institution, insurance company, accountant or any other entity that the agent presents the document to. All these parties are subject to the provisions of the Florida Power of Attorney Act.

You have executed a DPOA naming your spouse as your agent. Unfortunately, you are tied up in the hospital and the taxes are due.

Can Banks Refuse to Honor a Valid Power of Attorney?

The statute governing Durable Powers of Attorney, address this very issue. It’s helpful to remind folks that there are three parties involved in the use of a Durable Power of Attorney (commonly referred to as a DPOA). First there is the person who assigns such power to act, by signing the document. This person is known as the Principal. Secondly, there is the person who is given the authority and power by the Principal. This person is known as the Agent. Thirdly, there all other persons or entities to whom the document is presented. These parties are defined in Chapter 709, Fl. Statutes, as “third persons”. Even though the word persons is used, it refers to and includes banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, the IRS, real estate transactions, and other entities, as well as individual persons.

The laws created under Chapter 709 are intended to both enhance the utility of a Durable Power of Attorney, and on the other hand, to protect banks and other third persons from liability.