How to Take Power of Attorney Away From Someone

The act of appointing a power of attorney (POA) is a significant and legally binding expression of trust between two or more individuals. If a person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated, the person identified as power of attorney has the authority to make crucial medical and financial decisions on their behalf.

As long as one remains competent, their power of attorney legal documents can be amended. Family members might also challenge a power of attorney if they feel the trusted individual is abusing their power.

Who Can Override a Power of Attorney?

Attempting to override a power of attorney document is a serious choice that should not be taken lightly. It’s a significant and complicated decision, and it’s essential to choose an attorney with experience in elder law and disability law to assist in this process.

Someone who wants to override a power of attorney can go over the document with their attorney and thoroughly evaluate it. They then determine whether a power of attorney is an ordinary power or durable power and when it expires. This will aid in determining the next course of action.

How Do You Take Power of Attorney Away From Someone?

If you want to revoke someone’s power of attorney, the principal (person granting power to the POA) will often be able to make this decision. This will be straightforward if the principal is still in good health. The principal takes power away from their previously assigned POA and can re-assign it.

If the principal is not in a state of mind where they are able to amend the POA, or they refuse to, you as a loved one can approach the agent through your attorney. You have the option of asking the agent to step down. If the agent refuses, you will need to petition the court for a guardian or conservator to look after the principal’s best interests.

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Can a Power of Attorney Be Changed Without Consent?

Individuals who grant POA to someone have the right to change their minds about who they choose to make decisions for them under a durable power of attorney. However, they must have Legal Mental Capacity to modify their Power of Attorney. 

The principal’s decision on who they have granted POA cannot be changed without their consent. 

The Ways Power of Attorney Privileges Can Be Removed

Given that circumstances and relationships change over time, it’s wise to revisit financial and healthcare powers of attorney every few years to ensure that estate planning remains current.

Even though you do not need a reason to revoke a POA, several reasons for removing power of attorney from someone include the following:

  • Changes in relationships;
  • Sibling disputes;
  • Incapacity or death of the POA;
  • Concerns regarding availability of the POA; and
  • The desire choosing someone else

If the principal dies, a power of attorney automatically expires. Only a few exceptions are made when wrapping up loose ends, such as the POA’s ability to pay bills and final debts and make burial preparations.

Principals may have included an exact termination date and time for the POA privileges in the initial POA documentation. The document’s termination date is frequently omitted, making it “durable” or effective indefinitely.

There are various other reasons why someone may include a POA termination date. These include the following:

  • If the POA is intended to cover tasks while the principal is out of the country for a specific amount of time (for example, when a military member is deployed) or if they will be unavailable for an extended period.
  • Revocation. The principal can revoke a power of attorney, and the sole stipulation is that they must be competent when the license is revoked.

Can You Remove Someone From the Power of Attorney?

There are three main ways of taking power of attorney away from someone, which include the following:

Verbal communication of the decision

One of the most common questions regarding POA  changes and procedures is, “Can you verbally revoke a power of attorney?” As long as the principal is of sound mind, they can withdraw someone’s POA privileges simply by proclaiming out loud that they no longer want them to have power of attorney over their property and affairs. This must be done in front of witnesses.

It’s also good for the principal to allow institutions or agencies with the POA on file to know about the decision. It will prevent the former attorney from acting on their behalf illegally after the revocation.

Written communication

To avoid complications during this process, the principal should execute a written revocation naming the POA and forwarding it to their agent. It’s important to sign it in front of a notary public and deliver it to their attorney. It’s also important to inform any third parties with whom their agent has communicated on their behalf (bank, doctors, nursing facilities, etc.).

Through a notary form

The principal can fill out a revocation document with a local notary, and both the principal and the notary must sign it. After that, they can serve the person to inform them that they are no longer authorized to act on their behalf.

Can a Family Member Override a Power of Attorney?

Family members do not have the legal authority to revoke a power of attorney. However, if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated and family members believe that a person with a durable POA abuses legal power, they might file a claim with the court for review and revocation if necessary. If the person filing the suit can prove that the POA is abusing one’s power, the court can revoke the POA immediately. 

How to Challenge a Power of Attorney

Individuals have the right to file a complaint with the Office of the Public Guardian if someone they care about has a Lasting Power of Attorney and they believe their attorney or attorneys are not operating in their best interests. A lawyer who specializes in this area will be able to assist with this.

Also read:What to Do When Your Lawyer Drops Your Case?

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In some circumstances, the Public Guardian’s Office will be able to investigate the attorney or attorneys in question to see if they concur with any concerns. The Office of the Public Guardian has the authority to revoke Powers of Attorney if they consider it necessary.

One may be concerned that an attorney is misusing their position by stealing, defrauding, or abusing their financial powers. In this case, the police should be informed immediately. Social services may also need to be contacted in some circumstances.

Conclusions

Ensuring trust between two people is extremely important for assigning power of attorney. It is usually a close family member that is left responsible for estates and affairs, as they are the ones who would look out for the principal’s best interests. 

In short, the rule stripping someone of their power of attorney is relatively simple. In considering how to remove someone from power of attorney, the principal can revoke the Power of Attorney by filing a formal revocation form with the court as long as they are mentally competent. A power of attorney will then be revoked, and they will be allowed to reassign these legal matters to another person.

Article by Megan Thompson

Megan Thompson is a legal writer at Lawrina. Megan writes about different law practice areas, legal innovations, and shares her knowledge about her legal practice. As a graduate of the American University's Washington College of Law she is an expert of law in Lawrina's team and has a slight editing touch to all content that is published on the website.

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