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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33730
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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A collection agency sued my father whom I have power of attorney

Customer Question

A collection agency sued my father whom I have power of attorney for) for a debt that I cannot even find proof of. I sent the request of proof and received nothing. On the day of court I appeared on my father's behalf via telephone. The judge said he was ruling against my father because "power of attorney doesn't mean you can be your father's attorney". (?) Is there a way to appeal his ruling and find out why he refused to allow me to stand in for him. (When I have stood in for my mother twice with the same exact issues and poa)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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""The judge said he was ruling against my father because "power of attorney doesn't mean you can be your father's attorney". (?) Is there a way to appeal his ruling and find out why he refused to allow me to stand in for him.""
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As a matter of law, the judge is correct. A person may represent themselves in court (pro se) or they can be represented by an attorney, but unless a POA is also an attorney, then they can't represent someone in court.
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A POA shares the rights of the grantor with the holder of the power for all general financial matters, but only an attorney can represent someone in court because this is considered practice of law and a person holding a POA could be charged with the criminal offense of "unauthorized practice of law" in FL if a judge was to allow them to represent the grantor in a court proceeding. (FL Statutes 454.23)
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So while you could appeal the ruling to a higher court, they would uphold the lower court ruling because only an attorney can represent someone in court if the person doesn't represent themselves.
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As for how you could have appeared in court for your mother with a POA if she wasn't there, legally I don't see how the judge allowed it because it is a violation of the law.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So to be able to go back in front of the judge since my father did not show up (and it would be horribly difficult for him to be able to- but somehow it could be done) what do I need to do? We faxed all the paperwork, spoke to the clerk of courts ,judges chamber and credit companies attorneys. None of them had the decency to say "hey....that can't be done BEFORE the hearing.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Yes, they can be difficult to deal with because they don't want to be accused of "giving legal advice" to someone and get in trouble themselves..
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""So to be able to go back in front of the judge since my father did not show up (and it would be horribly difficult for him to be able to- but somehow it could be done) what do I need to do?""
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Your, (actually father's) recourse would be to file a motion to set aside the judgment based on excusable error and father being unable to appear due to his health concerns at the time and ask that the case be redocketed for a formal hearing. It is up to the judge, but typically they like to decide a case on the merits, rather than by a default due to a party's inability to appear.
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thanks
Barrister

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