How to Release the Power of Attorney

By Beverly Bird

Many estate planning professionals recommend powers of attorney as worthwhile tools to keep the details of your life running smoothly in the event of an emergency. You can use a power of attorney to authorize an agent -- often a loved one or another trusted individual -- to make decisions regarding your medical care or to deal with the financial details of your life should you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney grants your agent immediate authority to handle your personal affairs, such as contracting for debt in your name, as well as authority after your incapacitation. If you decide that you’ve entrusted the wrong individual with these important powers, releasing your power of attorney is a simple matter of revoking it.

Step 1

Write a formal letter to your agent, informing him that you’re revoking your power of attorney. State in the letter that you require him to return the POA to you, as well as any of your financial records he might have in his possession. Forward the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have a record that he received it. Mail copies simultaneously to all banks, financial institutions, and other business entities you authorized your agent to deal with on your behalf. You might also consider hand-delivering them, and having the institutions sign acknowledgments of receipt.

Step 2

Speak with your agent to advise him of the change. Although it’s not legally required that you meet with him face-to-face in addition to mailing him notice, if you still value your relationship with this individual, you might want to give him the courtesy of telling him in person, before he receives notice out of the blue with a written letter.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Step 3

Write a revocation. Making your intentions clear is usually more important than the actual format. State your name, the name of your agent, and the date you granted him power of attorney. State that you’re of sound mind. Include explicit language that you’re revoking your POA and that you do not intend that your agent should have any legal authority to act on your behalf after the date of your revocation. Not all states require that you have your revocation witnessed and notarized, but it won’t invalidate it if you do, and this gives you an added layer of protection that the document will be honored.

Step 4

Distribute your written revocation to your agent and to all business entities you authorized him to deal with. You can do this the same way you dealt with your initial letter that indicated your intention to revoke the POA, sending it by certified mail or hand-delivering copies. Some banks and lending institutions have additional rules for revocations, so when you deliver your document, speak with a bank officer or other representative to find out if you need to do anything more.

Step 5

Create a new power of attorney. Unless you want to change the terms of your previous POA as well as the person you’re naming as agent, you can simply copy from your old one, replacing your old agent's name and identifying information with the name and information of your new agent. However, you should state again in your new POA that you’re revoking the old one. Attach an additional copy of your revocation to your new POA and distribute the document to all entities you're empowering your new agent to deal with.

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

References

Related articles

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 name someone else, known as your agent, to act on your behalf. You can create a power of attorney authorizing your agent to access your bank account or take other actions with your bank. However, policies differ among banks and state laws vary regarding powers of attorney.

How to Fill Out a General Power of Attorney

You must fill out a general power of attorney correctly. If you make mistakes, you might give your agent powers you don't want her to have, omit powers you do want to give her or end up with a useless document. You are the principal, the person giving authority, and your agent is the person you're allowing to act in your place. A general power of attorney allows your agent to act for you in various matters, including bank transactions and property sales. You can get a fill-in general power of attorney form at an office supply store or legal document store in your area. The fill-in form already has all the words your state requires for a valid power of attorney.

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

How to Get a Power of Attorney Dropped

When you give another person a power of attorney, she becomes your agent and can act on your behalf in the matters you ...

How to Amend a Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows a person, called the "principal," to designate an agent to legally act on his behalf ...

How to Change the Name on a Social Security Card After a Birth Certificate Was Changed

Prior to changing your name on your Social Security card, you must first file all the appropriate paperwork to change ...

How to Cancel a Power of Attorney

Giving someone power of attorney over you or your affairs requires that you trust that person completely. A power of ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED