People commonly ask what creating a power of attorney in Florida will mean for their own decision-making rights. It’s common for people to worry that by creating a power of attorney document, they will give others the right to make decisions and thereby lose the ability to control their own lives. While powers of attorney do delegate decision-making responsibility to others, you don’t need to worry that these documents will trump your rights.
Only you can choose to create a power of attorney.
Even if it’s in your best interest to do so, you are never under any obligation to create a power of attorney. If you choose to create one or more of these documents, you, and only you, get to decide what types of authority you want to convey. For example, you can choose to make a financial power of attorney that gives very limited authority to someone else. On the other hand, you can create broader, general powers of attorney that convey much wider decision-making authority.
Only you can choose who your agent is.
When you create a power of attorney, you have to choose one or more agents who will represent you and make decisions for you. Agents, also called attorneys in fact, must be capable adults who are willing to serve. You do not have to choose any specific person as your agent regardless of his or her relationship to you. For example, if you want to give someone other than your spouse the right to make health care decisions on your behalf, you are free to do this.
You can fire your agent whenever you want.
Regardless of the type of decision-making authority you grant to your agent, you can revoke this power at any time. As long as you remain mentally capable you can fire your agent for any reason or for no reason. Once your agent learns that he or she has been terminated, the decision making authority granted to them under the power of attorney is immediately cancelled.
Your agents cannot abuse their power.
When you choose to create powers of attorney and appoint one or more agents to represent your interests, you and those agents create a special relationship, called a principal-agent relationship. Agents owe a heightened legal responsibility to the person creating the power of attorney, called a principal. Agents have to use their decision-making abilities to do what is in the principal’s best interests. They cannot use the authority you grant them in order to take advantage of you or do something that goes against your interests. Agents face the possibility of civil criminal penalties if they abuse their powers.