A Revocation of Power of Attorney is a legal document written by a principal to cancel or revoke a power of attorney.
A power of attorney also referred to as a POA, is a legal document that allows the principal to appoint a designated person referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact to act on their behalf. The agent/attorney-in-fact may be granted broad or limited authority to make decisions or act on behalf of the principal regarding their finances, investments, property, or medical care.
The revocation of POA is simply a written confirmation by the principal, acknowledging that they no longer wish to be represented by their agent or attorney-in-fact.
Possible Reasons to Revoke a Power of Attorney
The principal may decide to rescind the POA anytime, even if it has a specified end date. However, two key factors come into play before the principal can legally revoke the POA: One, they must not be incapacitated, and two, they must be of sound mind at the time of the revocation. Should the principal become incapacitated or not of sound mind at the time of the revocation, their next of kin may take the necessary measures in a court of law to complete the revocation of the POA.
Some of the most common reasons that warrant the revocation of a POA include:
The purpose of the attorney has been fulfilled
Once the duties that the attorney-in-fact or the agent have been fulfilled and their services are no longer required, the principal may decide to revoke or cancel the POA to stop the attorney-in-fact or the agent from making any further decisions or acting on their behalf in the future.
The attorney-in-fact can no longer act
If the principal determines that the attorney or their agent is untrustworthy or careless when dispensing the duties accorded to them, then the principal may decide to revoke the POA and appoint a new agent or attorney-in-fact to act on their behalf.
The agent is not completing the requirements appropriately
If the agent is not competent enough in completing duties delegated to them, the principal may decide to terminate their relationship and appoint a new agent to represent them or act on their behalf.
The agent is no longer interested
If the agent is no longer willing to act on behalf of the principal or due to unavoidable circumstances they are no longer able to dispense the duties accorded to them, then the Principal may choose to revoke the POA.
The principal would like to change agents
At times, the principal may decide to work with another agent for reasons best known to them. For instance, the principal may find it mutually beneficial to work with another agent instead of working with their current agent, in which case they may decide to use an revocation of the POA to terminate their relationship with their current agent.
The agent was your spouse, and you have divorced
Most people usually appoint a power of attorney to the people they trust the most, especially when it comes to medical-related issues, property, investment, and finances. Married couples usually grant the POA to their spouses as they believe they will act in their best interest. However, when the relationship grows sour, leading to a divorce, the principal may have no option but to revoke the POA as their interest may no longer be well represented by their spouses.
The agent is deployed overseas as military personnel
If your agent is deployed overseas as military personnel, they may not be able to dispense the duties they are required to as your Agent. In this case, the principal may have no choice but to revoke the POA and assign it to another agent.
The principal is no longer traveling abroad and can manage affairs
If the principal is appointed an agent to act on their behalf since they may not be available due to travels and are now no longer traveling and can manage their affairs, they might choose to revoke the POA as they may no longer have the use for the services offered by the agent or attorney.
Note: It is vital to note that a Medical Power of Attorney gives you, i.e., the principal, the power to appoint someone to make health decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated.
According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, older adults are usually subject to exploitation by their money greedy agents and attorneys. To prevent exploitation, it is recommended that you use a power of attorney revocation to undo a bad appointment of an agent or attorney-in-fact.
How to Revoke a Power of Attorney
Until and unless a POA is properly revoked, the attorney-in-fact or the agent can continue to act on behalf of the principal legally.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can properly revoke the POA:
Step 1: Fill the form
To properly revoke the POA, you will first have to fill out the power of attorney revocation form.
You will be required to provide the following information in the revocation form:
- Your name as the principal
- The name of your agent/attorney-in-fact
- The commencement date of the POA
- The date when the revocation begins, usually immediately
Step 2: Witness, notarize and sign
The next step is to execute the power of attorney revocation form in the presence of a notary public. It is important to execute the revocation of POA in the presence of a witness and a notary public. All parties present, i.e., the principal, notary public, and witness, should sign the document to show that they acknowledge the revocation of POA.
Step 3: Send a copy to the agent
Make copies to give to the concerned parties, i.e., the attorney-in-fact, any third party/proxies granted the POA, and your attorney. A copy of the document should also be presented to any agencies that may have recorded or required the POA.
Power of Attorney Revocation Forms (by State)
Important Considerations for Revoking a Power of Attorney
Although there are no regulations that govern when the principal may cancel or revoke the POA, some important considerations must be taken into account when doing so.
Some of these considerations include:
Consulting a lawyer
It is recommended to seek legal counsel for matters of legal nature. Although one is not legally mandated to seek the lawyers’ council to revoke a POA, it is still better to have one walk you through writing a revocation of POA. Your lawyer will help you understand the legal language much better and also check to ensure that you have included all the key information required to make the revocation valid.
Creating a new POA
Another important consideration is to create a new POA and revoke the old one. Creating a new POA will automatically revoke any existing POA, and it will serve as confirmation of revocation. However, depending on the circumstances, you can still create a revocation of Power of Attorney form and send it to your Agent or Attorney-in-fact to serve as a formal notice of your revocation of the POA.
File at the county clerk
To make your revocation official, it is important that you visit your county clerk and file the revocation of the POA. Consequently, if you will be assigning the POA to a new Agent or Attorney-in-fact, make sure to file the new POA with the county clerk to make it official.
Notify all third parties
The next step is to make copies of the revocation of POA and the new POA to give to the concerned parties, i.e., the attorney-in-fact, any third party/proxies such as banks, insurance companies, etc., granted the POA. A copy of the documents should also be presented to any agencies that may have recorded or required the POA.
Ask your agent to give back all POA copied that they have
Once you have filled the revocation of POA with your county clerk, it is important that you request your Agent or Attorney-in-fact to return all the copies of the initial POA to show that they are no longer working on your behalf. Make sure to keep the files in a safe place for future reference.
If the original POA was registered at your county clerk’s office or any other relevant offices, it is important to register the POA’s revocation. This will inform such institutions that you have agreed to cancel or revoke the POA and that the Agent or Attorney-in-fact named in the POA will no longer be acting on your behalf.
Consequences of Not Revoking a Power of Attorney
Unless a POA is properly revoked, the attorney-in-fact or the agent can continue to act on your behalf legally.
If the Agent has no good intentions, there may be dire consequences that you may be left to deal with, such as:
If you fail to revoke a POA, the agent or attorney-in-fact will still have the power to act on your behalf. They may make decisions that are not in your best interest or even cause a financial mess.
An agent with the POA to manage your finances may withdraw all your money from your account. This is because banks and other financial institutions may still grant them access to your accounts if you fail to issue them with revocation of POA.
Paying expensive fees to a lawyer
Disputing claims or unauthorized transactions on your account is usually time-consuming and expensive. To recover money that your previous agent or attorney-in-fact withdrew from your bank account, you may have to invoke the services of a legal practitioner, which may be a very costly affair.
Losing control over your business
An agent who has been granted POA and is not acting in your best interest may cause you to lose control over your business and finances by making wrong decisions. For example, they may decide to sell your shares on the business or make risky investments causing your business to become bankrupt.
Losing your home or life savings
Trusting the wrong agent to make the right decisions on your behalf can lead to you losing your home or life savings. For instance, the agent may fail to make timely payments to service your mortgage or even make decisions that may lead to you losing all your life savings.
Revoking a power of attorney is very important as such powers in the wrong hands may lead to dire consequences. It is important to use a revocation power of attorney to formally inform the agent or attorney-in-fact that the POA granted to them has been revoked and that they may no longer act on your behalf. It is also important to ensure that all the key components have been included in the revocation of POA. If you are not sure of what to include or how to go about revoking the POA, it is recommended that you seek help from your lawyer.