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.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

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.

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

References

Related articles

Can a Sibling Get Power of Attorney Changed Without the Brother Being Told?

Can Two People Have the Power of Attorney for the Same Person?

Definitions of Durable and Non-Durable Power of Attorney

Related articles

Power of Attorney Vs. Durable Power of Attorney

How to Change Power of Attorney

Abuse of a Power of Attorney for an Incapacitated Family Member

Guardianship Vs. Durable Power of Attorney

Browse by category