How Do I Revoke Power of Attorney?

By Tom Streissguth

A power of attorney gives one party, the "agent," the legal authority to make decisions for another party, the "principal." The principal can revoke the power of attorney for any reason, even if the original was a durable power of attorney that granted authority to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Note, however, that you may not be able to revoke the POA if you are already incapacitated. Revoking a power of attorney is a straightforward matter of executing, notarizing, filing, and serving a short legal document.

A power of attorney gives one party, the "agent," the legal authority to make decisions for another party, the "principal." The principal can revoke the power of attorney for any reason, even if the original was a durable power of attorney that granted authority to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Note, however, that you may not be able to revoke the POA if you are already incapacitated. Revoking a power of attorney is a straightforward matter of executing, notarizing, filing, and serving a short legal document.

Documents

In order to revoke a power of attorney, you need to submit a document known as a revocation. This is a simple statement in which you declare the power of attorney to be null and void. You do not need to provide a justification or legal grounds; you must name the agent in the power of attorney, however; give your address and the address of the agent; and give the date of the original power of attorney document as well. You must sign the revocation in the presence of a notary public and, preferably, before a witness.

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Recording

In order for the revocation to gain legal recognition in the courts or in any legal proceeding, you must file the revocation with the clerk of court in the county in which you live. You should attach a copy of the original power of attorney as well. The clerk will date and record the document and certify the filing with an official seal, then provide you with copies of the document, which you may then provide to whomever you wish via a process server.

Service

If the original power of attorney carried an expiration date, then a revocation is not required: The POA automatically lapses on the expiration date. If an agent is formally served with a revocation, then he must cease all actions taken on your behalf or allowed to him in the original power of attorney. Formal service is recommended if you wish to protect your rights in any dispute, because an agent can always plead ignorance of the revocation if you notify him through the mail, by telephone, or by other informal means.

Other Parties

Once you have revoked the power of attorney, you should request that the agent return all copies of the power of attorney to you. You may also notify banks, attorneys, the IRS or any other party of your intentions by formally serving them with the revocation, or providing it via certified mail, which proves the date of delivery. Once they have received your revocation, they are legally barred from dealing with your agent by means of the original power of attorney.

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Can a Person Give or Turn Over Her Power of Attorney to Someone Else?

References

Related articles

General Power of Attorney in Washington State

The state of Washington allows individuals to grant authority to others through a power of attorney. This document authorizes an agent or agents to act on behalf of a principal. A “general” power of attorney gives broad scope to these actions, so such a document should be carefully drawn up and offered only to someone you trust.

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.

How to Resign as Power of Attorney

Acting on behalf of another person because of a signed power of attorney carries legal responsibility, so you must resign if you can't or no longer want to perform the duties. An agent, or person authorized to act for another party, can typically resign without giving a reason or waiting a specific number of days. However, you should formally notify the person you're acting for, referred to as the principal, and all other involved parties to protect yourself legally.

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