Durable Powers of Attorney – Can My Agent Live Out Of State?

I have been focusing at least one blog post a month this year on Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOA)  and the many questions I get about them.  This month, I wanted to discuss whether you can appoint someone who lives out of state as your agent.

First, let’s recap what is the purpose of a DPOA.  This document is used to allow you to appoint someone (your “agent”) to act on your behalf in financial matters such as banking, investments and even selling real estate.  One of the purposes of a DPOA is to make sure that, if you become incapacitated, you have someone who can take over and act on your behalf.

So, is it allowable to appoint someone who lives out of state as your agent?  Yes, absolutely.  You can appoint anyone you want to be your agent, whether they live in Florida or not.  The downside to having someone who lives outside of Florida is that they are far away and, if something needs to be done immediately (like signing paperwork, or accessing an account), there could be a delay.  If that is not a concern to you, then no problem.

What is really important is that you appoint someone that you trust.  Why is that?  Because, the person you are appointing steps into your shoes and can do whatever you can do with your money.  They can access your accounts, sell real estate, even change beneficiaries on accounts or life insurance (if you specifically give them that power).  And these powers take effect immediately after you sign the DPOA – there is no waiting until you are incapacitated.  Florida ended “springing” powers of attorney in October, 2011 when they changed the statute.  This means that POA’s take effect immediately and can be used, regardless of whether you have been determined to be incapacitated.

If you have other questions about Durable Powers of Attorney or other estate planning documents, please call Board Certified Elder law attorney, Laurie E. Ohall, to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation. Contact Ms. Ohall today if you need estate planningelder lawprobate or guardianship assistance.