power of attorney

How do you take power of attorney away from someone?

After granting power for someone to decide on your behalf, how do you take power of attorney away from someone, mainly when the person is abusing the trust?.

This article discusses the various ways you can take back the control you gave the person to prevent them from exercising that power to your disadvantage.

How to take power of attorney away from someone

If you granted someone a power of attorney and you would like to take that back, the law affords you two ways to revoke the decision and ensure the person can no longer act on your behalf.

It is worthy of note that, even though the law gives you the power to take back a power of attorney from someone, the essential requirement is that you must be of sound mind before you can grant or take away a POA. 

1. Verbal communication of the decision

As the principal, merely communicating your decision to the person or agent, stating that you’re revoking the power of attorney granted them is legally sufficient to bar them from exercising the POA.

It is also prudent that you notify institutions or agencies with the POA on file to be aware of the decision. It will prevent a situation where the former attorney may want to illegally act in your stead even after the revocation.

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2. Written communication

Alternatively, you can take a POA away from someone by putting the decision in writing and duly signing it. A copy of the letter document must be submitted to the attorney-in-fact and institutions with the POA on file to notify them.

3. Through a notary form

You can obtain a revocation document from a local notary to fill, and you must sign as well as the notary. Follow that by serving the person to notify them that they can no longer act on your behalf.

REVOCATION OF POWER OF ATTORNEY FORM
Sample power of attorney revocation form

Can a power of attorney transfer money to themselves?

Without the express permission of the principal, a power of attorney has no right to transfer money to themselves. It would constitute self-dealing, and most US states have statutes declaring such acts illegal.

A principal can bring a civil claim for compensation, restitution, and other penalties against the person with the POA. A principal may also choose to press criminal charges such as theft by fraud against a POA who transfers money to themselves without approval from the principal.

Can power of attorney override a will?

One of the limitations of a durable power of attorney is that it doesn’t grant the ability to override a will. A will is a legal document essential to a person’s estate planning. Effectively, someone given a POA cannot revoke, override or change the contents of a will.

Can a family member override a power of attorney?

No, a family member has no legal right to override a power of attorney. However, suppose family members think that a person with a durable POA is abusing power after the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. In that case, they can bring a claim before a court for determination and revocation if warranted.

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Who can override a power of attorney?

The principal can at anytime override a POA. A court can override or revoke a durable POA if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated and there’s a cause that the power is being abused or used to the principal’s detriment.

What does power of attorney allow me to do?

Depending on the type of power of attorney granted and the exact wording, the person can make decisions on private life, business, financial among others, in some cases, even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated.

Regarding what a POA allows you to do, it all depends on the wording of the POA. If it is a limited POA, you are only limited to decide on the specific matters, transactions, or series of transactions. In case it is a general POA, usually, the power is given to decide on legal, business, and financial matters. To decide on medical issues concerning the principal requires a special medical POA.

A POA can be durable or non-durable. A durable POA will continue to decide in the principal’s interest to the extent the POA states, even when the principal becomes mentally incapable. In contrast, a non-durable POA expires when the principal becomes mentally incompetent.

Is it worth doing a power of attorney?

Yes, you would want a person you can trust their character, knowledge and judgment to represent your best interests in case you’re indisposed or mentally incapacitated.

You have the ability to limit the power of attorney to specific transactions and you can always override the decisions by the POA agent or revoke the POA anytime you wish.

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Can there be two names on a power of attorney?

Yes, you can name two agents on a POA, both of whom will have the power to act as stated in the document. Such POA would state if the attorney’s can decide ‘jointly’ or ‘jointly and severally’. This means they can either only act upon agreement and together or each can at anytime, act on the principal’s behalf without necessarily consulting the other.

What happens if two power of attorneys disagree?, well in that case, the principal’s decision will take precedent.

Do spouses automatically have power of attorney?

No, a spouse doesn’t automatically have power of attorney in the event that the other spouse becomes mentally incapacitated. A court will have to appoint a person to act in the role known legally as guardianship. This person will have powers similar to decide on behalf of the person, subject to review by the court on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Knowing how to take power of attorney away from someone is crucial to prevent abuse and self-dealing. Various legal avenues exist to seek redress if a POA abuses the trust and power reposed in them.

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