How to Transfer a Power of Attorney

By Laura Payet

How to Transfer a Power of Attorney

By Laura Payet

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf, usually in financial or medical situations. When you create it, you are the principal, and the person you appoint is your agent, sometimes called an attorney-in-fact.

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An agent can never transfer their authority to another person unless the POA explicitly permits it. As principal, however, transferring a power of attorney to another agent is as simple as revoking the existing power and creating a new one. Follow these steps in order to transfer authority.

1. Prepare a written statement revoking the POA.

The first step is to revoke the existing power of attorney. You can have your attorney prepare a statement, use an online form, or draft your own. Your statement should include:

  • Your full legal name and address
  • The statement's date
  • A declaration that you are of sound mind
  • A declaration that you wish to revoke the POA of [date of existing POA], which names [full legal name and address of existing agent] as agent
  • A declaration that you no longer wish the agent to have any legal authority to act for you

Sign the statement in front of a notary and have it notarized. You may also wish to have witnesses to your signature to attest that you were of sound mind when you prepared it. Although witnesses are not required, their presence establishes that you were competent when you revoked it.

2. Notify your agent that you have revoked the original POA.

Particularly if your existing agent is a family member or close friend, it's a good idea to speak with them in person to tell them you want to transfer your power of attorney to someone else. After you have done so, write a letter and send it to your agent, stating that you have revoked it and request that they return the original to you. Send the letter by certified mail so that you have a record of its receipt. You may also choose to use a delivery service that requires signature upon delivery. Keep a copy of the letter for your own records.

3. Distribute copies of the written revocation.

Provide a copy of your signed, notarized statement revoking the POA to the agent, your attorney, and any business or financial institution that has a copy of the old one or with which you regularly do business. Again, use certified mail with a return receipt or a delivery service that requires a signature. Check with any banks or financial institutions to be sure they don't have any other requirements. If you cancel a medical power of attorney, be sure to distribute copies of the statement revoking it to your doctors and health care providers.

4. Prepare a new POA.

Create a new POA that designates a new agent. It should also contain a statement revoking all prior powers of attorney. As with the original document, this new one should be signed and notarized (in front of witnesses if your state requires it). Distribute copies to your new agent along with any other appropriate parties.

It's generally a good idea to have both a financial and medical POA as part of a thorough estate plan in case you become incapacitated through illness or accident. But after you draft it and give your agent authority to act on your behalf, you might eventually choose a different agent. If this happens, ensure that you follow these steps to properly revoke your POA before drafting a new one.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.