Becoming a person’s agent under his or her durable power of attorney is a significant responsibility. While it is an honor that you have been chosen for this position, it is not a role that should be taken lightly. Before accepting the duties of agent under a Florida durable power of attorney there are a few precautions that you want to be aware of. Our goal is to help you better understand what it means to be an agent, and what you should be on the lookout for before taking on the role.
If a friend or family member has chosen you as the agent, this means that he or she trusts you with not only his or her possessions but also with his or her life. The agent nominated under a Florida durable power of attorney has the ability to make decisions on income, assets, and ultimately how to care for the principal if he or she is incapacitated. This can be in conjunction with health care advance directives or independent of them.
The agent has a fiduciary responsibility to care for the principal’s finances. As agent you should be able to make decisions as the principal would under different circumstances. This can often be hard and confusing, and you should not hesitate to consider hiring advisors to help you when you need it, including your own lawyer to help you navigate the process.
In the event of severe injury or incapacity, where your family member or friend may need significant long-term care assistance, guidance on how to proceed as the agent named in the durable power of attorney may be needed. In advance of a crisis, however, when you are informed you are the agent, ask how long-term care decisions should be handled and if any advance planning has been made. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions so, if the time comes, you are prepared to handle the situation.
The first step to serving as another’s agent is to understand what is being asked of you and the responsibility that comes with the role. Learn as much as you can so you are able to make an informed decision if a family member or friend asks you to serve. Do you have further questions? Or want to know how to choose the right decision maker for your unique circumstances? Let us know. Does this article raise even more questions for you? We are here to answer them for you. Call us at +1 (321) 723-8388 to schedule an appointment with Attorney David Jacoby.