How to Break a Power of Attorney

By Ciele Edwards

Managing your money and investments properly is crucial to maintaining your financial stability. Should you become incapacitated or lose your ability to make rational decisions, your assets could be in jeopardy. Granting power of attorney to a loved one capable of making financial or health care decisions on your behalf ensures someone will be available to manage your affairs if you cannot. This individual is your “agent.” If you are of sound mind and wish to revoke your agent's privileges, you may terminate the power of attorney agreement at any time. A lawyer or online document provider can provide assistance in both drafting and revoking a power of attorney.

Destroying the Document

State requirements vary considerably regarding the actions you must take to terminate an existing power of attorney agreement. In North Carolina, for example, if you have not yet registered the original document with the court, destroying the document terminates the arrangement. Other states, such as Alaska, require that you not only destroy the power of attorney document but also provide your former agent with a written revocation notice.


A revocation notice is a written statement formally revoking the agent’s privileges. Most states require that you revoke a power of attorney in writing. If your state required you to file the original document at the courthouse, you must also file your revocation document at the courthouse. Providing your agent with formal notice that he no longer has authority to make financial or health care decisions for you is crucial, even if your state does not require you to provide such written notice. If your agent is not aware of the revocation, he may continue managing your affairs in good faith.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now


Your agent is not the only one who needs to know the power of attorney agreement is no longer in effect. Any companies, individuals, financial institutions or health care providers your agent conducted business with on your behalf also need to know. By sending a copy of the revocation notice to these individuals and companies, you ensure they will no longer permit your former agent to manage your money or medical care. If you do not send proper notification to each of them, they may continue working with your former agent – and permitting him access to your records and accounts – in good faith.


Consumers sometimes believe that creating a new power of attorney agreement and filing it with the court automatically invalidates any previous agreements on file. This is often not the case. Some states, such as California, allow consumers to keep more than one power of attorney agreement on file with both documents being legally binding.

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



Related articles

Can a Power of Attorney Create a Will?

Planning for your future includes considering the possibility of your incapacitation. A legal document, known as a power of attorney, allows you to designate one or more individuals to take care of a variety of responsibilities if you are unavailable or incapable of performing these on your own. The details you include in your power of attorney document will help define the responsibilities and limitations this written instrument allows.

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.

How to Relinquish Power of Attorney

Being an agent bound by a power of attorney can be a significant burden. The amount of care you must exercise while tending to another person's affairs can be time consuming and exhausting. You may be concerned that if you do not exercise due care, you can be personally liable for monetary damages. If you do not feel capable of meeting these challenges, you have a responsibility to relinquish that authority. Powers of attorney are subject to state law. As a result, the standards on how to relinquish a power of attorney may vary from state to state.

Related articles

What Happens If an Agent With Power of Attorney Becomes Incompetent?

If handling your own financial affairs is a challenge, or you worry that you will not be able to manage your affairs in ...

Can a Power of Attorney Be Non-Durable & Non-Revocable at the Same Time?

A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that grants another person the authority to manage finances on your ...

What Happens if a Power of Attorney Misuses Money?

A power of attorney for finances allows you to appoint someone else — your agent — to accomplish financial tasks on ...

How to Gain Access to Bank Accounts With a Power of Attorney

When you aren’t able to manage your bank accounts, a power of attorney can help. A power of attorney document lets you ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED