Revocation of Power of Attorney in Different U.S. States
End-of-life planning is a tricky subject. We know it’s important, but many of us hesitate to take the steps needed to put a plan together.
According to a survey conducted by AARP, 83% of adults over 72 have a Power of Attorney in place, compared with 41% of millennials. A Power of Attorney (POA) grants someone else the authority to act on our behalf in legal or financial matters. This is important for everyone – not just older generations – in case we find ourselves in a position where we are incapable of making critical, sometimes life-or-death decisions.
Considering who to name as a Power of Attorney is a serious matter and is a decision that, ideally, should not be questioned in the future. However, there are instances where a Power of Attorney status needs to be revoked and it’s important to know how to make that happen.
In this article, we will dig into Power of Attorney revocation, how to go about it, and what it looks like in different states.
Power of Attorney decisions: not set in stone
While you are careful about selecting who to name as a Power of Attorney, you should know that your decision is not necessarily set in stone.
Legally, a Power of Attorney is valid up until your time of death. While you are living, if you’ve had a change in your relationship or you simply change your mind about who you would like to name as your Power of Attorney, you have the right to revoke your original designation and assign a new person to be your POA.
You do need to take steps to validate your new decision, but you are not required to state a reason for changing your POA.
There are several situations in which a Power of Attorney revocation may be called for:
- A change in relationship. Your feelings towards your original POA agent may change and you may no longer feel comfortable with that person making important life decisions on your behalf. If you can’t trust someone to act in your interest, you can revoke their POA.
- Death of a POA. The person you originally named as your POA agent may no longer be living. Or, your POA agent may now have a terminal disease, dementia, substance abuse problems, or another affliction that may incapacitate them. In these cases, a revocation of POA becomes necessary.
- Non-availability. Perhaps the person you originally named as your POA agent has accepted a new job requiring plenty of travel, or has moved to another state or country, or has a personal situation that requires a significant amount of attention. If you feel your POA agent would not be available to act in your best interests, then you can revoke their POA and assign someone who would likely have more time.
- A change of heart. Sometimes, we simply change our minds. We are only human and we have the right to decide what is best for us. If you simply don’t want your POA agent to be your POA agent anymore, that’s reason enough for a revocation.
- Your POA isn’t up for it. Likewise, a POA agent has the right to decide whether or not they are up for the job. If your agent does not feel comfortable being named as your Power of Attorney and wishes for you to give that designation to somebody else, it would be in your best interest to revoke their POA.
How to make revocation of Power of Attorney valid
The typical questions asked when it comes to revocation of Power of Attorney are: “How do you take the Power of Attorney away from someone?” and “Do you need a lawyer to revoke power of attorney?” Simply voicing your wishes out loud will not legally validate your Power of Attorney revocation. There are steps that must be taken in order to make your decision to revoke a Power of Attorney true and legally binding.
Typically, there are four ways you can go about revoking your Power of Attorney:
- In writing. There is actually an official form called a Power of Attorney Revocation Form that can be used to officially terminate an active Power of Attorney. It is completed and signed by the original grantor who designated the POA and needs to be notarized in order to be considered valid.
- By destruction. If you’re the only person who has a copy of your Power of Attorney document, you can simply rip it up, burn it, or throw it away to invalidate it. If you had given copies out to your POA agent or to a lawyer, you will need to officially revoke it using a Power of Attorney Revocation Form.
- By request. A court-appointed guardian or another interested party (like a family member) can request to have an existing POA revoked.
- By signing a new Power of Attorney form. Once you want to transfer POA privileges to somebody else, you can sign a new form that revokes all former POA designations and assigns a new agent to the role.
Of course, you must not forget two really important steps in this process: you need to notify your original POA agent that you are revoking their status as your POA and you need to inform your new POA agent that you will be naming them as POA (and make sure they’re okay with that!).
Does Power of Attorney revocation vary state-by-state?
Every U.S. state allows Power of Attorney designations to be revoked and most states will require written notification of the revocation to the original POA agent.
Some states have very specific rules in place around Power of Attorney revocation. For example, in Alabama, if your spouse is named as your Power of Attorney and you get divorced, your spouse’s Power of Attorney will automatically be revoked.
It is a good idea to consult with an attorney or check with your state constitution to understand what the Power of Attorney revocation process will look like for you.
How to access a Power of Attorney Revocation Form
Whether you need to complete a Power of Attorney for the first time, revoke an existing Power of Attorney, or reassign your Power of Attorney, US Legal Forms has you covered.
US Legal Forms offers a library of more than 85,000 state-specific documents for any number of legal matters.
You can browse the US Legal Forms Power of Attorney library by state, get guidance on how to complete a Power of Attorney form, access complete life planning packages (which include a Will, Living Will, and so on), and more.
Life planning can be overwhelming but with guidance and access to the correct documents, you’ll have the peace of mind you need.