© Law Office of Leonard A. Barrow, Jr.

The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information about the law and other sources, which is subject to interpretation and change.

2418 Colonial Drive

Melbourne, FL 32901

Phone:  (321) 725-0045

Fax:  (321) 725-0078

E-Mail:  len@lenbarrow.com

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document that creates a legal relationship which grants legal rights and powers from one person, called the "Principal" who gives such to another person, called the "Agent" or the "Attorney-in-Fact."  The Attorney-in-Fact stands in the shoes of the Principal and is thus empowered to handle their financial, legal and business matters.

The main attraction of a Power of Attorney is that it can avoid the necessity of a Guardianship proceeding should the Principal become incapacitated.  It is important that such document be written as a "Durable" Power of Attorney, whereby the validity of the Power of Attorney will remain in force even if the Principal becomes incapacitated.

Because a Power of Attorney is a powerful document, one must choose carefully in selecting an Attorney-in-Fact.  It is important to note that signing a Power of Attorney does not take away a person's legal rights, but rather it means that the Attorney-in-Fact simply has the power to act along with the Principal or on the Principal's behalf.  It is also important to note that a Power of Attorney can be revoked by the Principal at any time and that a Power of Attorney lapses immediately upon the death of the Principal.

Living Will Declaration

A Living Will is a written declaration by which an individual can provide for the withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures when that person is in a physical condition where there is no hope for any degree of continued quality of life.  The Living Will declaration allows a person to "die with dignity" where they would otherwise be kept alive only by artificial means.

Florida law provides that any competent adult (over the age of 18) can make a Living Will for the purpose of directing the withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event that such person has (1) a terminal condition; (2) an end-stage condition; or (3) is in a persistent vegetative state.  A Living Will must be signed by the maker while in the presence of two subscribing witnesses, one of whom is neither a spouse or blood relative of the maker.


Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A Health Care Surrogate Designation is a written document that provides for the appointment of a Surrogate who can make health care decisions, deal with medical providers and be empowered to give consent for necessary treatment if a person is unable to make their own health care decisions.

In addition, a Health Care Surrogate Designation can allow the Surrogate to obtain medical records from a health care provider, including records subject to the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended.