In an effort to strengthen protections for the elderly and vulnerable against exploitation, Florida this week enacted a new “Power of Attorney Act” that mandates significant changes to how they are handled, and the methods by which they must be executed and notarized. Floridians are being warned that powers of attorney that don’t comply with the new laws will be invalid. Among the new requirements, the Act states that “A power of attorney must be signed by the principal and by two subscribing witnesses and be acknowledged by the principal before a Notary Public or as otherwise provided in s.695.03.” Powers of attorney that were executed prior to October 1, 2011 will still be considered valid as long as they followed the law as it was at the time of execution; however, given the heightened scrutiny of the documents, third parties, such as banks and other financial institutions, might be more hesitant to honor documents that fail to comply with the new requirements. In order to avoid potential delays in acceptance, individuals are being encouraged to update their powers of attorney to reflect the new standards and requirements. Learn more about the Florida Power of Attorney Act.