A power of attorney may not be a hot topic these days, but estate planning generally, certainly is. However, during uncertain times, estate planning always gets a few more headlines. In Florida, we have a few more estate planning tools at our disposal.
Power of attorney
Every state recognizes a power of attorney. A POA allows you to select someone to act on your behalf. This can be a broad grant of power or simply to do one thing. A Miami, Florida, POA can be tailored to your personal needs.
A normal POA
Nearly every estate plan should have at least one POA, even if it is just a healthcare proxy or POA. However, for most, you should have a Miami-Dade County POA for other things as well. It is quite common to deny access to accounts and bills to anyone who is not the actual account holder. This could mean that should you become incapacitated, your spouse could lose access to money and, if not, still not have the ability to pay bills. Electric companies will turn off lights without payments, even if your spouse is trying to pay.
A POA can solve this problem. You can designate your wife in a POA that gives her authority to pay bills and access all of your accounts, should you die or become incapacitated. You could give them broader powers too, like taking over a business.
A superpowered POA
Florida goes a step further than some states. Florida Statute Section 709.2202 outlines the superpowered POA. These POAs can create an inter vivos trust, or amend, modify, revoke or terminate an existing trust (if that is allowable). They can also waive a right to a joint and survivor annuity, which includes survivor benefits under a retirement plan. The superpowered designee can also make gifts, disclaim property and powers of appointments, and change beneficiaries and rights of survivorship.
One way that people use these superpowers is as an insurance policy. A superpowered POA can be created that only takes effect if certain events happen. For example, if you divorce your spouse and die before you can update your estate plan. Another example would be if a child is born before you can update your estate plan. In these specific scenarios, the superpowered POA could add the new child as a beneficiary to a trust and even take off your ex as a beneficiary.