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Who can override a Power of Attorney?

Who can override the decisions made by power of attorney? Or the position itself? Trust & Will answers all your questions around overriding POA.

In general, the Principal (whomever created the Power of Attorney, or POA) can always override the legal document. Beyond that, there is also a possibility for others to try and put a stop to a POA’s powers, too. 

Powers of Attorney can be a powerful and helpful estate planning tool that protect the Principal, Beneficiaries, assets and estates in general. Because they have the potential to hold so much power, understanding Power of Attorney rights and limitations is incredibly important. Ultimately, whether or not someone is legally entitled to override a Power of Attorney will just depend on a couple things, including what type of POA is in place and the reason for the request to cancel it.

Typically, if somebody is trying to override a Power of Attorney, it is a close, concerned relative or loved one who fears the POA is taking advantage of the rights they are empowered with. Usually the claims stem from either concern about neglect or exploitation. Part of being a POA is a legal requirement to act on behalf of the best interest of the Principal. If the POA’s intentions come into question, those closest to the Principal may raise a red flag. 

Read on to learn more about when a POA’s power can be thwarted, how to go about doing so, and more. 

Do you need a lawyer to get a Power of Attorney?

In short, no, you typically do not need a lawyer to get a Power of Attorney in place. That said, sometimes expert advice can make the process easier and less stressful. You can choose to hire an estate planning attorney, or you could use an online platform that offers legal services and advice on top of their estate planning services. 

One caveat if you’re going the DIY route, it’s always a good idea to check your state requirements about POAs so you can be confident that what you’re putting in place would hold up in court if it were ever questioned. For more information on this, be sure to check out our full guide– “Do you need a lawyer to get a Power of Attorney?”

What is a Power of Attorney responsible for?

What a Power of Attorney is responsible for greatly depends on the type of POA in place and what authority has been granted in the document. POAs can be very sweeping and broad, or they can be extremely explicit and limited - the type you put in place really just depends on your needs. 

You can find more information about the specific types of POAs here: 

How to get Power of Attorney for parent

Occasionally, the (often difficult) time in life comes where the child needs to take on the role of the parent. If you’re facing that stage in life, you should know that there is help out there for you to navigate this change in reality. Whether you’re concerned about a parent’s financial interests, or the medical care they receive, setting up a POA is one way to ensure you can protect the very people who’ve spent your entire life taking care of you

Getting Power of Attorney for the elderly loved ones in your life can be done in 5 simple steps. 

  • Ideally, the best time to set up POA is when your folks are still alert and of sound mind. If you’re starting the process after they have become incapacitated, you may need to formally file for guardianship rather than try to get a POA in place. 

  • Put everything in writing and have your parents sign the legal document. Be sure to be detailed, listing every authority and power they are granting you. Specifics are vital - is the POA granting you broad, sweeping authority? Or is it limited to specific transactions or time periods? 

  • Be sure to list full, legal names and state the titles. Your parents are the Principals, and you are the Agent (also known as the Agent in Fact). It’s OK for Alternate Agents to be named as well. 

  • If the Power of Attorney is being set up now, but won’t go into effect until the future, be sure to clearly describe what “springing power” will trigger the POA to take effect. 

  • Make it clear how long the POA should be in effect. Will it terminate when the parent becomes incapacitated? Or will it carry through until they pass away? (NOTE: Regular POAs will automatically terminate upon the Principal’s death. However, Agents can also be named as Trustees of a Trust or Executors of a Will.)

Your parents have been there for you your whole life. When the time comes that they need you, you want to know how to best protect them and their interests. 

Whether you need to override Power of Attorney, or you need to get one for aging parents, POA is a powerful estate planning tool that can protect the people you love most in life. Make sure you understand the power of attorney rights and limitations so you can use this tool to its fullest potential and get the most protection from it. 

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.