How to Change Power of Attorney

By Marie Murdock

A power of attorney is a legal instrument by which you appoint someone you trust, known as your attorney-in-fact, to act on your behalf. It may be necessary at some point to remove or change the person you have named as your attorney-in-fact. Depending on the circumstances, ending the authority granted to one attorney-in-fact and appointing another may simply be a matter of preparing the paperwork and giving notice.

A power of attorney is a legal instrument by which you appoint someone you trust, known as your attorney-in-fact, to act on your behalf. It may be necessary at some point to remove or change the person you have named as your attorney-in-fact. Depending on the circumstances, ending the authority granted to one attorney-in-fact and appointing another may simply be a matter of preparing the paperwork and giving notice.

Step 1

Prepare a new power of attorney appointing a different attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf. This power of attorney should state that it is revoking any prior powers of attorney executed by you, thereby terminating the original attorney-in-fact’s authority.

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Step 2

Prepare a separate revocation or notice of revocation of power of attorney. Even if your new power of attorney revokes your older one, giving immediate written notification of revocation may be wise if there has been misconduct or mistrust between you and your attorney-in-fact.

Step 3

Provide copies of the new power of attorney or notice of revocation to parties with whom you normally transact business and make sure they understand that your prior attorney-in-fact no longer has authority to legally act for you. Provide a copy to the attorney-in-fact who is being removed. Laws in some states protect financial institutions and other parties who rely on a power of attorney without knowledge of its revocation.

Step 4

Record the new power of attorney and/or the revocation of the old in the county’s land records to give the public notice of the change. It is particularly important to record the revocation if the original power of attorney was placed of record. Just as the recording of the power of attorney gave public notice of the attorney-in-fact’s appointment, the same is true of her withdrawal or termination.

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