A revocation of power of attorney form allows you to change your mind about who you want to act on your behalf for personal, healthcare, business, or legal matters. As the name suggests, you can revoke or cancel the power and authority previously granted to this person, known as your “Agent”. Just as a Principal can create a power of attorney (POA), a Principal can also revoke that same power.
A simple Revocation of POA should generally identify:
- Who was the previous Agent with the POA
- When the POA should be effectively revoked, usually immediately
Table of Contents
- How to Revoke Power of Attorney
- Reasons to Revoke a Power of Attorney
- What Happens If You Don’t Revoke Your Power of Attorney?
1. How to Revoke Power of Attorney
To revoke power of attorney, you’ll first need to fill out a revocation of power of attorney form. Your form will identify the following basic elements:
- Former Agent: name of person previously allowed to act on the Principal’s behalf
- Principal: name of person previously wanting assistance with business or legal matters
- Effective Date: when the Revocation begins, usually immediately
- Signatures: the Principal and Notary must sign the form
Once you and the notary sign this legal document, the former Agent no longer has authority to act on your behalf. Be sure to notify other individuals or institutions who have the POA on record of this change.
2. Reasons to Revoke a Power of Attorney
There are many reasons why you may need to cancel or withdraw power given to a previous Agent. You may need to revoke a POA if you:
- Become divorced or widowed
- Return from being deployed overseas as military personnel
- Your Agent is not acting in good faith or breaching their fiduciary duties
- You are no longer traveling abroad and can manage your own affairs
- Complete your extensive travels abroad and have returned home
- Had a bad experience with your current Agent and no longer trust them
According to a November 2012 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), older adults are particularly prone to being financially exploited by ill-meaning power of attorney agents. Fortunately, you can use a Power of Attorney Revocation to undo a bad appointment of an Agent and prevent elder abuse. A 2012 documentary, Last Will and Embezzlement, features Mickey Rooney and the potential for a POA to be abused by untrustworthy Agents.
3. What Happens if You Don’t Revoke Your Power of Attorney?
If you do not cancel your previous Agent’s POA, the wrong person may have legal authority to act on your behalf in important financial and business decisions.
By taking the time to create a Revocation of POA, you can prevent the following suffering:
- Lost opportunity cost of
- Designating a more trustworthy individual to handle your financial matters
- Untangling the financial or legal mess caused by an untrustworthy Agent
- Trying to pursue an Agent who has zeroed out your accounts
- Expensive lawyer fees to
- Dispute unauthorized transactions initiated by a previous Agent
- Recover money inappropriately withdrawn from Principal’s bank account
- Mental anguish from
- Experiencing a breach of trust by an Agent who abused their power
- Losing control over the proper conduct of your business
- Being scammed by a bad Agent, losing your home, or embezzled of life savings