Anyone wishing to cancel a previous power of attorney will need to complete a power of attorney revocation form, also known as a revocation of POA. This legal document voids the previous power of attorney right away, changing the individual responsible for acting on your behalf for personal, business, and legal matters effective immediately. The document has to be executed by the person who granted the power of attorney, (known as the principal) and states that they wish to demote the current attorney-in-fact (also known as the agent) from their position.
For anyone wishing to write a POA revocation form, we have a free revocation of power of attorney template on this page (Word and PDF download available). You’ll also find information on what is included in a power of attorney revocation, why you would consider writing one, and answers to all your other POA form-related questions.
When a power of attorney is written, it gives the named subject control over the principal’s finances, business decisions, health care decisions, and other legal matters as decided by the principal. However, there are many reasons why the principal might change their mind and wish to write a POA revocation form. Below are some possible reasons:
The purpose of the original power of attorney document has been fulfilled and the principal is ready to take back control of their financial, business, and legal matters.
The principal does not think the attorney-in-fact is completing their duties as per their best wishes and wants to pass the power to another individual.
The attorney-in-fact no longer wishes to hold power of attorney over the principal.
The principal returns from overseas and is now capable of managing their own finances and other legal matters.
Although there are many reasons to revoke power of attorney, no explanation needs to be given when completing a POA revocation form. The principal’s decision legally stands and must be respected, regardless of their reasoning behind it.
Until a power of attorney is revoked, the agent-in-fact has the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of the principal. By failing to revoke power, the agent may continue making these decisions, thus resulting in several negative consequences regarding time, money, and mental anguish. Below are just some examples:
Paying expensive legal fees to undo the unwanted decisions made by the attorney-in-fact;
Losing control over your finances and important business decisions;
Being unable to appoint a more appropriate and reliable person as the agent;
Having to spend time and money recovering money withdrawn or used inappropriately; and
Losing your home or savings due to the actions on the attorney-in-fact.
It is simple to write a power of attorney form using our sample revocation of power of attorney as a guideline. Simply download the form as a PDF or Microsoft Word document.
Included in a power of attorney revocation is all the following information:
After you have downloaded the revocation of power of attorney form and completed it, a copy needs to be sent to the agent. This should be done by certified mail, which acts as proof that the letter was received, which prevents the attorney-in-fact from making any more legal or business decisions on the agent’s behalf without facing criminal charges. Third parties, such as banks and insurance companies, must also be notified of the changes.
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No reason or explanation needs to be included when the principal completes a revoked power of attorney form. The only information on the legal document that is necessary is the names of the attorney-in-fact and the principal, the date it is effective, and signatures from the principal and a notary.
A power of attorney can be irrevocable; however, these are uncommon. They are usually reserved for decisions over transactions involving publicly traded stocks or by courts in guardianship cases where the guardian lives in another jurisdiction. In most cases, a power of attorney can be revoked at any time so long as the principal is mentally competent to make important life, business, and financial choices on their own.
Whether or not a power of attorney can be revoked depends on the type of POA initially agreed upon. A power of attorney can be either ordinary or durable. All ordinary power of attorney documents are voided automatically if the principal becomes mentally incompetent, so there is no need to revoke power. On the other hand, a durable POA remains intact, even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated, and generally cannot be revoked.
It is essential to complete our revocation of power of attorney template in writing so that there is proof of the principal taking the decision-making responsibilities away from the attorney-in-fact. Without it being in writing, the agent could claim their power was never taken away. The legal document is also required to be sent to banks, insurance companies, and other third parties so they can formally update their records.
An attorney-in-fact needs to be made aware that their power of attorney responsibilities have been taken away, so they no longer attempt to make legal decisions on the principal’s behalf. Any decisions they try to make after revocation are classed as a criminal act. Therefore, the agent must legally be informed of the principal's decisions and comply with their directives.
For the legal document to be valid, all of the following information must be included in a power of attorney revocation form: the principal’s name, the agent’s name, the effective date, and the signatures of the principal and a notary. A copy of the completed revoke power of attorney form must then be provided to the attorney-in-fact, any third parties that had an original copy of the POA, and the agency where the original power of attorney was recorded.