How to Cancel a Power of Attorney

by Beverly Bird

    Giving someone power of attorney over you or your affairs requires that you trust that person completely. A power of attorney allows him to legally act in your stead and make decisions for you. Many states automatically sever the power-of-attorney relationship between spouses in the event of a divorce. As long as you remain mentally competent, you can cancel a general POA yourself at any time.

    Step 1

    Find a format to follow so you can write a notice revoking your POA. These are not legal documents you must file with the court, so you have some leeway as to how to construct one. Libraries, legal aid services and legal websites often provide blank forms you can either copy or fill out.

    Step 2

    Complete the revocation form. Make sure you identify yourself and specifically state that you are revoking your power of attorney and the powers you granted to the person you named in it. Include the date of your POA.

    Step 3

    Take the completed form and two witnesses to a notary public. You can usually find one working at a bank or law office. Make sure you and your witnesses have photo IDs with you. Sign the form in the presence of the notary.

    Step 4

    Write the word “revoked” in large, dark letters on your power of attorney. Make copies of your POA, as well as your notice to revoke it. Attach a copy of your revoked POA to each copy of your revocation form.

    Step 5

    Mail a copy of your revocation notice with its attached revoked POA to the person whose power you’re revoking. Send copies to all institutions, banks and health care providers you authorized him to deal with. Do this by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof that each person or entity received it.

    Tips & Warnings

    • State laws vary regarding how you must serve your revocation on some financial institutions. If you hand-deliver an extra copy, you can ask a bank employee if this is sufficient or if there is anything else you should do in your particular jurisdiction. You can also consult with an attorney.
    • If you grant a new power of attorney to someone other than the agent you named in your original POA, it's imperative that you also revoke the first one. Otherwise, all you’ve managed to do is empower two agents to act on your behalf. Your first POA usually remains in effect without specific revocation.

    About the Author

    Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

    Photo Credits

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