How Do I Remove a Power of Attorney?

Posted in uncategorized on August 13, 2020

A power of attorney is a legal document that wields a great deal of power. If you have a power of attorney agreement with someone in California, you may be unable to make certain decisions for yourself should you become incompetent. Your attorney-in-fact will have the legal authority to make choices about your finances, estate planning or medical care for you. It is however possible to remove or revoke a power of attorney in California by submitting the proper paperwork or by contacting a family law attorney for legal advice.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney describes an arrangement in which one person receives the legal power to make decisions on behalf of another person. There are several reasons why an individual might use a power of attorney if that person – the principal – becomes incapacitated. With a power of attorney, the attorney-in-fact or agent will have the right to act in place of the principal if the principal becomes incompetent. The agent holds durable power and can have many rights, including the ability to make important legal, financial decisions regarding bank accounts, property and health care decisions for the principal. The two different types of power of attorney documents are general and limited. General power of attorney gives the agent full decision-making capabilities. The agent will gain all the legal rights the principal had prior to becoming incompetent or incapacitated. A limited power of attorney is not as broad. It only gives an agent legal power over certain aspects of life, such as paying bills. Furthermore, a medical or health care power of attorney specifically gives the agent the right to make health care decisions for the principal.

How Is a Power of Attorney Revoked?

Once an attorney-in-fact and principal sign a power of attorney, it will become legally binding until the principal passes away, at which point the executor of the decedent’s estate will take over. In certain situations, however, either the principal, the agent or a family member could remove a power of attorney, effectively dissolving its powers. Revoking this document requires a Revocation of Power of Attorney form submitted to the courts with your full name, the date, a statement saying you are of sound mind and body, a clear request for the removal, the name of the agent, and your signature.

  • A principal can revoke the power of attorney while he or she is still mentally competent. A principal can complete a formal written document requesting the revocation of a power of attorney at any time, for any reason, while he or she is still competent. The principal must sign and notarize the revocation request.
  • Family members may remove an agent. If the principal is already incapacitated but family members wish to change or remove a power of attorney, they can file a petition with the courts challenging the attorney-in-fact. The agent may lose power of attorney if the courts find evidence that he or she is not acting within the principal’s best interests.
  • Someone may revise the terms of a power of attorney. It may be possible to revise the stipulations of a power of attorney as the principal or a family member. Revisions could limit or broaden the agent’s responsibilities and powers.
  • The agent can decline power of attorney responsibilities. If the person named as the principal’s power of attorney no longer desires the role, he or she can opt out of it before or after it becomes valid. The co-agents or alternative agent will then take over the role of agent and gain power of attorney.

Upon official removal of a power of attorney, you should either destroy all copies of the original power of attorney document or attach copies of the signed revocation to them. This will confirm that no one can use the revoked power of attorney. The person instigating the revocation should also notify the other person involved in writing. The agent should be fully aware that he or she no longer has the power to make decisions for the principal. If you need help removing a power of attorney in California, contact a family law firm for advice.

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