3 minute read

What Does It Mean to “Revoke Power of Attorney?”

Are you in a situation where you think you need to revoke power of attorney? Get the information you need, including how to revoke power of attorney.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Establishing Power of Attorney (POA) can offer a great sense of relief and peace of mind. It means you can rest easy, because you can trust that you have somebody there who’ll have your best interest at heart when it comes to making decisions. But what happens if you ever need to revoke a Power of Attorney you put in place? Can someone else in your life override your decision about POAs? How do you even go about revoking a POA in the first place? Do you need a lawyer? 

The POA is one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to estate planning. We’re covering everything you need to know about what it means to revoke Power of Attorney, and how you can go about doing so. 

Can I Revoke Power of Attorney?

Yes, you can revoke an established Power of Attorney. Best of all, it’s really not even all that hard. So if you ever feel, at any time, for any reason at all, that you need to take power away from the agent-in-fact (POA) you appointed, know that you absolutely can do so.

Can a Family Member Override a Power of Attorney?

Logically, it should seem like nobody else has the right to weigh in on who you appoint as Power of Attorney. But in reality, there is a potential for conflict anytime you make a major change that grants authority (or revokes it!) like a POA does.

There are avenues concerned family members can take if they want to challenge your POA appointment. If someone in your life feels like your agent is abusing their power, or acting inappropriately, or not making decisions that are in your best interest, they actually can file a petition in the courts to challenge your POA’s power. However, the only entity who has the authority to actually revoke Power of Attorney, besides you, is the courts.  

How to Revoke Power of Attorney

Revoking Power of Attorney really isn’t difficult. With just a few documents and signatures, you can completely revamp who has the authority to act on your behalf via the power of a POA.

There are two specific ways to revoke a POA. 

The first would be to destroy every copy of any existing documents. But it’s easy to see the potential for complications with this method. 

The second (and best) way to revoke a Power of Attorney is by preparing what’s known as a Notice of Revocation. This Revoke Power of Attorney form is typically included in the original POA documentation that you prepared, and you simply need to sign and notarize it in front of a notary public. While technically a witness is not needed, it’s still a good idea to have one present. Especially if you expect any ill will or contention around your decision to revoke the POA, you don’t want the chance of your mental competence ever coming into question. 

If your original POA was recorded at your local Recorder of Deeds office, you need to record the revocation there, too. You should also let your original POA know of your decision. And finally, you will want to reach out to all financial institutions, healthcare facilities/members, and any other institution that may have your old POA document filed. You need to let them know that the power has been revoked and provide them with the written revocation as proof. 

Regardless of whether you need to revoke a Medical or a Financial POA, or if you’re wondering how to revoke a Durable Power of Attorney, if you know for sure that you want to remove the authority to act, it’s important to understand exactly what that entails. The process is exactly the same to revoke a Durable or a regular POA. At a glance, the revoking a POA works like this:

  1. Prepare a Notice of Revocation

  2. In front of a witness, sign the document

  3. Notarize the document

  4. Record the revocation document at the local Recorder of Deeds office

  5. Inform your former POA of your decision

  6. Notify all financial and medical (and any other) institutions of the decision - provide them with the Revoke Power of Attorney form 

Do you Need a Lawyer to Revoke Power of Attorney?

No, you do not need a lawyer to revoke Power of Attorney. The form itself is self explanatory, and as you saw above, the steps are simple and straightforward. Especially if you use a trusted and easy-to-use online platform like Trust & Will, everything about estate planning, including revoking a POA, is within reach.

Trust & Will has made it our mission to create a platform that makes estate planning easy, effective and inexpensive. Whether you need to create a Trust, write your Will, appoint a guardian for your children, or establish or revoke a POA, thousands of people just like you have turned to Trust & Will to ensure the most precious parts of their lives are protected, both now and in the future. 

If you’ve decided you need to revoke the authority you’ve granted to a POA, it’s critical that you know the steps it takes to legally do so. Failing to properly revoke POA can create long-term hassles in the future.

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