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Notary Bulletin

Q&A: The Impact Of Florida's New Power Of Attorney Law

In an effort to protect elderly persons from being exploited, the state of Florida enacted a new law this month that changes the way powers of attorney are executed and notarized. The NNA’s Healthcare Professionals Section spoke with elder law attorney Howard Krooks to discuss the changes in the new law and how it may affect powers of attorney notarized in other states.

What changes does the Florida law make to the notarization requirements for powers of attorney?
Previously, only durable powers of attorney — a power of attorney that remains effective if the principal giving the power is incapacitated later — had to be witnessed by two individuals and notarized. Under the new Power of Attorney Act, this requirement now extends to both durable and non-durable powers of attorney.

Can the Notary serve as a witness?
The Notary can serve as one of the witnesses. It’s important to note that Floridians are being warned that if the procedures established by the new law are not followed, the powers of attorney that don’t comply will be invalid.

How does this law affect powers of attorney created and notarized in other states?
Florida’s new power of attorney act is based upon the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which has been adopted in some form in a handful of jurisdictions. The purpose of the uniform law is to render powers of attorney portable between states. However, Florida made some revisions to the Act, and because of this there are still a few questions about document portability between other states and Florida.

What would happenif someone has created and notarized a power of attorney in another state, but then moves to Florida? Would the power of attorney still remain valid?
An existing power of attorney that pre-dates October 1, 2011 from another state will still be valid in Florida as long as it was validly executed according to the laws of the other state.

What should a Florida Notary do if asked by someone to “re-notarize” an older power of attorney document?
I do not recommend that a Notary re-notarize a power of attorney that was in existence prior to October 1, 2011, because there are new rules that require either a principal’s initials or a signature next to the powers granted on the document. If this requirement isn’t already present, and the document is signed again on or after October 1, 2011, the powers on the document will not be validly conferred.

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