Agent Under a Power of Attorney Can Authorize Alimony Award for Nursing Home Resident's Wife

Reversing the lower court, a Florida appeals court holds that the trial court was authorized to grant alimony to the wife of a nursing home resident based on a marital property agreement that was signed by the husband's agent under a power of attorney. Levy v. Levy (Fla. Ct. App., 4th Dist., No. 4D18-3535, April 17, 2019).

Robert Levy was preparing to enter a nursing home, so his wife, Paula Levy, requested non-dissolution alimony in order to pay her expenses. Mr. Levy had a power of attorney that authorized his agent to continue to support anyone he was currently supporting. The agent signed a marital property settlement, agreeing to provide alimony to Ms. Levy, on behalf of Mr. Levy.

The trial court denied the petition for alimony. It ruled that it could not legally order alimony because of concerns about Mr. Levy's potential incapacity. Ms. Levy appealed.

The Florida Court of Appeals reverses, holding that because Mr. Levy had a power of attorney, the trial court was authorized to award alimony. The court rules that by "denying alimony based on [Mr. Levy's] potential incapacity, the court failed to give effect to [Mr. Levy's] intent under the durable power of attorney to designate an agent to act on his behalf notwithstanding his subsequent incapacity."

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