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Thursday, May 6, 2010

How do I revoke my Enduring Power of Attorney?

Let's say that you signed an Enduring Power of Attorney giving your son legal authority to deal with your assets. Your son has been using the document, properly and legally (or maybe not so properly), but now you want to revoke it. How do you go about it?

Revoking the Enduring Power of Attorney means that you are cancelling it and taking back the authority you had given to your son.

You can tear up your document, assuming that you have mental capacity to make that decision.

You can make a new Enduring Power of Attorney, again, assuming that you have mental capacity to do that. You'll notice that the first paragraph of the new document specifically says that it revokes any earlier ones.

These are simple steps, but the problem in reality is revoking a document that has been widely used at banks, investment advisors, lawyer's offices, etc. Tearing up your copy of the document isn't going to do much good if other copies of it are on file and being followed in other places. How will the bank or anyone else know that you've changed your mind? They won't know if you don't tell them.

If you make a new Enduring Power of Attorney and you want your new representative to act on your behalf, you can send a copy to everywhere that has your old Enduring Power of Attorney. The new one will replace the old one because the most recent document is the one that is in effect.

If you don't make a new Enduring Power of Attorney, or you make one but you don't need to use it right away because you don't need the help, you still have to give something in writing to discontinue the use of the old document. There is a very brief (one page) document called a Revocation of Enduring Power of Attorney that you can sign and circulate. A Wills and Estates lawyer could draft one for you. If you sign the Revocation, you can send copies to the bank, lawyer etc and in that way stop them from using the old document.

Remember that when a person is removed from his or her job as attorney under Enduring Power of Attorney, he or she is obliged to give a full accounting of all of the financial transactions that took place while he or she was your attorney.

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