How to Release the Power of Attorney

By Beverly Bird

Many estate planning professionals recommend powers of attorney as worthwhile tools to keep the details of your life running smoothly in the event of an emergency. You can use a power of attorney to authorize an agent -- often a loved one or another trusted individual -- to make decisions regarding your medical care or to deal with the financial details of your life should you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney grants your agent immediate authority to handle your personal affairs, such as contracting for debt in your name, as well as authority after your incapacitation. If you decide that you’ve entrusted the wrong individual with these important powers, releasing your power of attorney is a simple matter of revoking it.

Many estate planning professionals recommend powers of attorney as worthwhile tools to keep the details of your life running smoothly in the event of an emergency. You can use a power of attorney to authorize an agent -- often a loved one or another trusted individual -- to make decisions regarding your medical care or to deal with the financial details of your life should you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney grants your agent immediate authority to handle your personal affairs, such as contracting for debt in your name, as well as authority after your incapacitation. If you decide that you’ve entrusted the wrong individual with these important powers, releasing your power of attorney is a simple matter of revoking it.

Step 1

Write a formal letter to your agent, informing him that you’re revoking your power of attorney. State in the letter that you require him to return the POA to you, as well as any of your financial records he might have in his possession. Forward the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have a record that he received it. Mail copies simultaneously to all banks, financial institutions, and other business entities you authorized your agent to deal with on your behalf. You might also consider hand-delivering them, and having the institutions sign acknowledgments of receipt.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Step 2

Speak with your agent to advise him of the change. Although it’s not legally required that you meet with him face-to-face in addition to mailing him notice, if you still value your relationship with this individual, you might want to give him the courtesy of telling him in person, before he receives notice out of the blue with a written letter.

Step 3

Write a revocation. Making your intentions clear is usually more important than the actual format. State your name, the name of your agent, and the date you granted him power of attorney. State that you’re of sound mind. Include explicit language that you’re revoking your POA and that you do not intend that your agent should have any legal authority to act on your behalf after the date of your revocation. Not all states require that you have your revocation witnessed and notarized, but it won’t invalidate it if you do, and this gives you an added layer of protection that the document will be honored.

Step 4

Distribute your written revocation to your agent and to all business entities you authorized him to deal with. You can do this the same way you dealt with your initial letter that indicated your intention to revoke the POA, sending it by certified mail or hand-delivering copies. Some banks and lending institutions have additional rules for revocations, so when you deliver your document, speak with a bank officer or other representative to find out if you need to do anything more.

Step 5

Create a new power of attorney. Unless you want to change the terms of your previous POA as well as the person you’re naming as agent, you can simply copy from your old one, replacing your old agent's name and identifying information with the name and information of your new agent. However, you should state again in your new POA that you’re revoking the old one. Attach an additional copy of your revocation to your new POA and distribute the document to all entities you're empowering your new agent to deal with.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
How to Cancel a Power of Attorney

References

Related articles

How to Transfer a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to act on your behalf; this person in known as an agent, or attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney can allow someone to manage your financial affairs or make health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated. To transfer a power of attorney from one agent to another, you will need to revoke the original power of attorney document and write a new one. You can revoke a power of attorney at any time and for any reason -- or for no reason.

What Is a Revocable Power of Attorney Form?

A revocable power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that appoints an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to handle transactions on your behalf. The agent can be any trustworthy person or institution you choose. Most states require POA documents to be in writing and specify certain requirements for creating and revoking POAs. Be sure your power of attorney form and any revocation you issue conforms with your state law requirements.

What Is Financial Power of Attorney Abuse?

When you, as a principal, create a power of attorney, you give your agent a significant amount of authority to conduct transactions on your behalf. Since your agent has so much authority, it may be easy for him to abuse the power of attorney to act in his own best interests rather than yours. However, state laws can provide protection against abuses, and you can incorporate safeguards into your power of attorney to help deter abuse.

Related articles

Can a Power of Attorney Be Changed if a Couple Is Not Divorced Yet?

Giving power of attorney to someone who cares more about her own interests than yours has some scary implications. ...

How to Write an Enduring Power of Attorney

In law, some documents have more than one common name. An enduring power of attorney is the same as a durable power of ...

How to Write a Power of Attorney

Although legal supply stores and websites offer power-of-attorney forms, a generic form might not suit your personal ...

How to Grant a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person, known as the principal, authorizes legal authority to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED