Estate Planning Mishap: Revoking the Power of Attorney

A revocation of the Power of Attorney is a legal document which confirms that you, the principal, no longer want the agent, the person who was named power, to act on your behalf. While having a Power of Attorney is certainly a vital part of any estate plan, it is quite common for individuals to change their mind about who they authorize to handle their financial and medical responsibilities. In the case you do happen to change your mind, you can revoke the Power of Attorney as long as you are still capable of making rational decisions and communicating them effectively.

How to Revoke a Power of Attorney

Why Revoke the Power of Attorney?

There are several instances in which an individual, legally referred to as the principle, may change their mind about the person to whom they’ve delegated the Power of Attorney, or the agent. One instance involves the agent being unable to fulfill their legal duties due to a lack of capacity, or even a loss of interest in bearing the responsibilities. Other reasons for revoking the POA may include the Principal believing that the Agent is not completing the requirements appropriately, the Power of Attorney no longer being desired, the Principal wanting to change Agents or if the responsibilities of the Agent have already been completed.

The principal is the only person with the legal right to terminate a Power of Attorney designation. If the family feels that the agent is abusing their powers, they will have to involve the local family court to terminate the agent’s powers.

How To Revoke the Power of Attorney

Revoking the Power of Attorney is usually executed in three steps. The first step involves obtaining the Power of Attorney Revocation document and completing it. The revocation should include the principal’s name, the agent’s name, the date the Power of Attorney took effect, and the date the Power of Attorney was revoked.  The second step involves notarizing the document under the supervision of a legal witness. Lastly, a copy of the revocation should be sent to the current agent(s) via certified mail. This will provide proof to the principle that the form was received by the agents, making it a criminal act should the agent decide to further act on behalf of the principle.

The revocation should include the principal’s name, the agent’s name, the date the Power of Attorney took effect, and the date the Power of Attorney was revoked. For the revocation to be legally valid, the document should be witnessed and signed by a notary. Copies of the revocation should be sent to the agent and any third parties, such as banks and insurance programs, that used the Power of Attorney. Additionally, the revocation should be sent to any agencies where the Power of Attorney was recorded such as the County Clerk or the Land Titles Office.

Consult With A Professional

Revocation of Power of Attorney is usually not a complicated process and can be executed fairly quickly with the help of a professional. If you or a loved one are looking to revoke a current agent to whom you’ve delegated the Power of Attorney, consult with a licensed estate planning attorney who can guide you through a seamless transition.