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

By Teo Spengler

Although a power of attorney involves two persons, it is not a contract and can be unilaterally revoked. The person making the document, termed the principal, uses the power of attorney to name an agent to act for her. A competent principal is free to revoke that authority at any time and confer it on another agent. The person named as agent can also decline to serve but cannot give or transfer her authority under the power of attorney to another.


You draw up a power of attorney in order to give someone else the authority to act in your stead regarding financial or healthcare matters. As principal, you select a person to act as your agent and describe the scope of the authority you give her. You can give the agent authority to act on your behalf for a limited purpose, such as selling stocks, or allow her general control over all of your financial matters. Durable powers of attorney are those that remain valid if the principal becomes incompetent. This legal document must be executed according to the laws of your state which may require a notary or witnesses to verify your signature.

Principal's Right to Revoke

A person must be competent to make a power of attorney and as long as she remains competent, may revoke it at any time. In many states, the document must be revoked in writing and with the same formalities used when the power of attorney was enacted. In Utah, for example, a revocation of a power of attorney, like the power of attorney itself, must be in writing and the principal's signature must be witnessed by a notary. It only makes sense to notify the previous agent of the revocation and, in some states, this notice is a requirement of revocation. If your state laws required you to record the original power of attorney, you must record the revocation in the same place and manner. Once you have revoked a power of attorney, you can prepare another form naming someone else as agent.

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Incompetent Principal

A person who becomes incompetent without having made a durable power of attorney cannot make one; her family must ask the court to appoint someone to act on her behalf. Additionally, a person who becomes incompetent after having made a durable power of attorney cannot revoke it. However, if family members believe the agent has breached his fiduciary duty to make decisions that are in the best interests of the principal, they may ask the court to step in and appoint a conservator or guardian.

Agent's Right to Decline

In some states, a person named as an agent in a power of attorney must sign the document along with the principal to indicate that she is aware of her appointment and agrees to it. Yet, an agent may opt out of the duties involved for any reason, before or after she begins acting as agent. She cannot, however, simply pass the duties on to someone else. If the principal appointed several people to serve as co-agents, the remaining co-agents continue to perform as agents after one of them resigns. If an alternative agent was named in the power of attorney, that person becomes agent if the original agent declines to serve. Generally, a successor agent has the same scope of responsibility as the original agent.

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Power of Attorney Obligations



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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 behalf. The person granting the authority is known as the principal while the agent, or attorney-in-fact, acts on behalf of the principal. The principal may give the agent power to perform only specific tasks, such as filing taxes, or grant broad authority to take care of all of the principal's financial matters. Because non-revocable POAs are generally reserved for business circumstances, personal POAs are rarely non-revocable.

How Do I Revoke Power of Attorney?

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.

Laws for Power of Attorney in New Hampshire

New Hampshire financial power of attorney laws set forth the rules and limitations under which a person, known as the principal, may grant authority to another person, known as the agent, to act on their behalf. The agent acting for the principal can do whatever the principal has allowed her to do, as outlined in the power of attorney document. In New Hampshire, an agent may have broad authority that includes signing the principal's real estate deal papers and completing the principal's banking.

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