Florida Durable Power Of Attorney
A common question I receive from clients is how often should I update my estate planning documents? Specifically, how often should you update your durable power of attorney? Generally, I tell clients that any time there is a major life change (birth, death, divorce) of someone who is named in their estate planning documents, they should consider having the documents reviewed. With a Durable Power of Attorney, there are often changes to the laws every 5 to 10 years, and that would also be a good time to have your DPOA reviewed to ensure no further changes need to be made.
In October, 2011, Florida’s DPOA statute underwent major renovations. Although old powers of attorney documents were “grandfathered” in, enough time has passed since the implementation of the new statute and given some of the things I’ve seen at some banks (who have refused to take old POA’s), I think it is a good idea to update your POA to conform with the new statutes. Under the old statute, there was no clarification as to whether you could list more than one agent under the DPOA. The new statute does allow for multiple agents to be listed. Thus, if you have a DPOA that only lists one person as your agent, it would be a good idea to have a new one done to list more than one person as an agent in case something were to happen to the person you appointed.
Also, although the new statute requires that the POA is void as to a spouse you have listed as an agent but whom you later file for divorce from, I would recommend updating the POA to ensure that the ex-spouse doesn’t attempt to use the POA in a fraudulent manner. It is a good idea to update all your estate planning documents in the context of a divorce.