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Can I Revoke a Power of Attorney?

May 6, 2020

Assigning power of attorney duties in an estate plan is a wise decision to ensure someone you trust has authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. However, circumstances change over time, and there may be reason to reassess your power of attorney appointments.

For instance, you may decide to revoke or change the designated agent as your power of attorney at some point. You might decide to do so because of changes in your relationship with your appointed agent, changes in your wishes or other conditions that warrant revisiting this appointment. If you wish to revoke a power of attorney, there are some things you should know.

How to Do It

As the principal or the person who authorized the agent to act on your behalf, you have the right to revoke your power of attorney under state laws. To do so, you must put your wishes in writing. You may do this when you assign a power of attorney to someone else or in another written document. You should sign and date the documents.

When You Cannot Do It

You cannot revoke a power of attorney if you are mentally unsound or incompetent. In fact, if you set up a durable power of attorney, the agent’s duties are not affected if you become incapacitated. As such, if you wish to change these appointments, it is best to do so sooner, rather than later.

Other Important Elements to Note

It is important to understand that there are different types of powers of attorney. As such, an alternative to revoking a power of attorney could be to change the specific powers without revoking the authority entirely.

You might also decide to give multiple parties powers of attorney. If you decide to do this, you should specify which duties each person has and whether they must make decisions together or may do so individually.

An agent acting under a power of attorney is an important role. As such, it is crucial that you assign these powers thoughtfully and review them regularly. If anything changes, you may want to discuss your alternatives with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your wishes continue to be honored.