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Powers of Attorney vs. Wills in Florida
Often times, clients come to us looking to have a will drafted, but also with questions about a Power of Attorney and what that entails. A Power of Attorney is a completely separate document from a Last Will & Testament. It effectively designates a person, or persons, who have the authority to manage your affairs and take action on your behalf, including investing and spending your assets and/or taking other action as specified in the Power of Attorney document.
A Power of Attorney is generally effective immediately after it is signed and executed, giving the designated person the authority to take the actions delegated by the Power of Attorney document. However, a Power of Attorney has no effect after a person dies.
A Last Will and Testament names one or more persons to carry out an estate, known as a Personal Representative, and details how the assets of the deceased (also known as the ├óÔéČ┼ôtestator├óÔéČ┬Ł) will be disbursed to their heirs after their death. The Personal Representative of a Will has no authority to take action prior to the death of the testator.
So in summary, a Power of Attorney gives authority while person granting it is still alive, but terminates upon death, while a Personal Representative of a Will becomes effective in death and has no authority before. These guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive descriptions of the requirements for establishing a valid Power of Attorney and/or Will. There are numerous state-specific rules as to how these documents should be drafted, and they should always be handled by a competent attorney who handles will and probate issues. In order to protect yourself, your family, and your assets in the case of an unfortunate turn of events, contact our office for a free consultation.
In addition to handling cases involving wills and Power of Attorney issues, our firm also takes on cases involving probate, divorce, child support, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com
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