Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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A Durable Financial Power of Attorney: How it Works

When a person in Polk County dies, their estate becomes subject to their estate plan. But what happens if a person becomes incapacitated? They are still alive, but they cannot handle their own financial affairs or make other types of decisions for themselves for as long as they are incapacitated. In this case, a durable financial power of attorney may be effective.

What is a durable financial power of attorney? It is a legal document that empowers another person to manage a person's finances in case they become incapacitated. The person making the power of attorney can decide how much authority the person who would exercise the power should have. Powers often assigned include paying bills, paying taxes and paying medical expenses. Other powers that can be assigned include managing real estate assets, accessing financial accounts and making investment decisions.

What else can a person do with a power of attorney? They can collect retirement benefits, transfer and sell assets and buy insurance. They can also operate a small business and hire lawyers and other representatives. It is possible to assign different powers to different people if a person wants to give powers to different people with different financial management skills.

A power of attorney is effective only while the person who made it is alive. After that person dies, the power of attorney is no longer effective and the estate administration process begins. This is when an executor or administrator takes control of the deceased person's estate and distributes it according to the law and to the deceased person's valid estate planning documents.

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their estate planning needs. Please reach out to us at our new headquarters at 203 Avenue A, NW, Suite, 101, Winter Haven, Florida 33881 at 863.294.1114.

On behalf of Kelly Kennedy of J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, P.L.L.C. J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, P.L.L.C. has merged with Rignanese & Associates, PLLC.                      

Cynthia Rignanese