Revocation of Power of Attorney Forms
The Revocation of Power of Attorney Forms are legally-binding documents that allow a Principal to terminate any Power of Attorney (POA) agreement they wish to discontinue. Once the document is lawfully executed, any decision making powers the Agent holds as per the terms of the POA will immediately become invalid. This is because the Revocation of Power of Attorney strips the Agent of their legal authority to act on behalf of the Principal. Therefore, the revocation essentially puts an end to the legal relationship the POA formed between the Principal and the Agent.
Revocation of POAs by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is a Revocation of Power of Attorney?
A Revocation of Power of Attorney (POA) is a form that equips a Principal with a lawful means of revoking a Power of Attorney arrangement that is no longer serving them. In a similar vein to creating a Power of Attorney, the process of creating a Revocation of Power of Attorney is dependent on state laws. As such, a Principal must use the Revocation of Power of Attorney form that is appropriate to their state, and abide by all state laws regarding POA revocations when creating the document.
As long as their state laws allow for it, a Principal can use a Revocation of Power of Attorney form to terminate any type of Power of Attorney. That is, it may be used to revoke a:
- Durable POA
- General POA
- Limited POA
- Medical POA
- Minor Child POA
- Real Estate POA
- Motor Vehicle POA*
- State Tax POA*
* Motor Vehicle POA and State Tax POA forms are usually administered by state departments. As such, the Principal should consult any instructions these departments provide for revoking such arrangements.
Why Use This Form
There are many reasons why a Principal may want a POA to end. Some common reasons a Principal may seek to end a POA are noted in the table below:
5 Reasons Why a Principal May Want to Revoke a Power of Attorney
|1.||The Principal has changed their mind.||The Principal has changed their mind about needing the POA, and therefore wishes to put an end to it.|
|2.||The Principal wants to amend the POA.||The Principal wishes to alter one or more terms in the POA. In order to do so, they must first revoke the original POA and then create a new one.|
|3.||The Agent has not met expectations.||If the Principal feels that the Agent has under-performed and has not effectively completed their duties, they may wish to name a new Agent to replace them. To do so, they will need to terminate the POA and name a new Agent.|
|4.||The Agent can no longer serve the full term of the contract.||There may be many reasons the Agent cannot complete their duties. For example, they may not have the time, expertise, or motivation. Or, their circumstances may no longer make it possible for them to act in the role of the Principal's Agent. In any case, one or more of these reasons may prompt the Principal to revoke the POA.|
|5.||The Agent has died or become incapacitated.||If the Agent has died or become incapacitated and the Principal did not name a successor Agent in the POA, they will need to terminate the POA and create a new one in order to name a new Agent.|
Notably, a Principal is permitted to revoke a POA at any time, for any reason. So long as the Principal initiates the revocation free from duress and is in a capable state when doing so (that is, they have mental and physical capacity to make and communicate their own decisions), all possible reasons are acceptable in the eyes of the law. The Principal is not even required to explain their reasoning in the form, nor to their Agent.
The Contents of the Form
The contents of a Revocation of Power of Attorney form will be largely dependent on each state’s respective POA laws. Generally, a Power of Attorney form will comprise of:
- The name of the Principal,
- The name of the Agent,
- A general statement that indicates the Principal’s intention to revoke the POA,
- The name of the state the Principal resides in,
- The signature of the Principal,
- The signature of the Agent (if required by state law), and
- Any signing requirements mandated by state laws.
It is the Principal’s responsibility to confirm whether or not signing requirements exist in their state, and if they do, what they are. Signing requirements will involve one of the following: a) notarization by a Notary Public or another individual who is legally capable of taking acknowledgments, b) the presence of one or more witnesses, c) notarization and witnesses, or d) notarization or witnesses.
If the Principal’s state does not have any signing requirements, they are still advised to employ at least one method of verifying the lawful execution of the form.
How to Use a Revocation of Power of Attorney
Provided that they follow any and all state laws related to revoking a Power of Attorney, the Principal is within their rights to use a Revocation of Power of Attorney form to revoke a POA. The following four (4) steps provide a rundown of how to use this form:
1. Find a state-compliant Revocation of Power of Attorney form
The Principal must first find a Revocation of Power of Attorney form that is compliant with their state’s particular laws. The best way to go about this is to find a state-specific, rather than generic form. For example, a resident from Maryland should find a Maryland Revocation of POA form, whereas a resident from Wyoming should find a Wyoming Revocation of POA form.
The Principal is welcome to make use of the state-specific forms provided in the list above, or they may go to a lawyer to obtain the form.
2. Answer any blank fields in the form
The Principal must then work their way through the entirety of the form, filling in any blank fields until it is complete. Most forms will only require the Principal to fill out a handful of fields, such as their name, their Agent’s name, the name of the state they reside, and the date of execution.
3. Address any signing requirements
The Principal will need to address any signing requirements outlined in their state’s Power of Attorney laws. The advantage of selecting a state-specific form from the list above is that each state’s form is designed with these signing requirements in mind. That is, if the signature of a Notary Public and/or witness is needed, this will be accounted for in the contents of the form.
4. Inform the Agent and provide them with a copy of the form
Once the Revocation of POA form has been executed, the POA is technically considered to be terminated. In practice, however, the Agent must be informed of the revocation, otherwise they will not know that they are required to stop acting on the Principal’s behalf.
The Principal may inform the Agent of their decision to revoke the POA either before they create the Revocation of POA or after it is executed. If they choose to inform them after, the Principal should do so as quickly as possible. Prolonging this step may mean that the Agent—who is completely in the dark about the fact that the POA has been revoked—continues to carry out their POA duties.
Whether the Principal informs the Agent before or after the execution, it is critical that at this stage, they provide the Agent with a completed copy of the Revocation of POA form.
Is a Durable Power of Attorney Revocable?
Yes, a Durable Power of Attorney is revocable by the Principal if they have decided that they no longer want or need it to endure. The primary means by which a Principal can initiate the revocation is by completing a Revocation of Power of Attorney form.
As aforementioned, the Principal should consult their state Power of Attorney laws for guidance on how to lawfully revoke a Power of Attorney in their state. Some states have specific requirements for revoking a Durable POA form, so the Principal should take due care to familiarize themselves with any relevant laws.