Granting an agent authority with a durable power of attorney can be a useful tool for the elderly or for anyone who suffers from incapacitation. The agent is permitted to act on behalf of the person when they are unable to do so themselves. Common grants of authority include paying bills and signing documents. But while authority granted by a power of attorney can cover many areas, there are certain delegations which require special procedures.
What are superpowers?
Superpowers are grants of authority which, unlike traditional powers, the person giving the authority must specifically authorize. For instance, if you decided to grant an agent power of attorney, you could prepare a document listing the areas in which the agent would have authority to make decisions for you. You would sign the document in front of witnesses and have it properly notarized. The agent would then have the authority you granted them.
Superpowers, however, require more. In addition to the standard requirements above, you would have to sign or initial next to every superpower you grant to your agent. If you did not, that particular grant of authority would not be valid. Florida Statute Section 709.2202 mandates the extra signatures and lists the powers for which they must be used.
Superpowers include the authority to create a living trust or to amend, modify or revoke a trust which already exists. Making a gift on your behalf is a superpower. So too is creating or changing rights of survivorship or beneficiary designations. Similarly, the authority to waive your own rights as a beneficiary can be considered a superpower, as can disclaiming your rights to property or appointments.
A durable power of attorney may be a useful tool for you to take advantage of. But keep in mind that there are specific legal requirements for their execution – speak with an experienced professional to ensure your power of attorney is completed properly.