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The steps necessary to revoke a power of attorney vary from one jurisdiction to another, and may also vary based on the type of power of attorney involved. For this reason, there is no one simple way to go about the revocation. In some areas, a simple verbal revocation is sufficient. At other times, legal documents must be filed and notice served to the agent named in the power of attorney. There are a few basics that are highly likely to apply whether the goal is to revoke a durable power of attorney, a limited power of attorney, or even a so-called irrevocable power of attorney.
With any power of attorney that is structured to include a start and end date, the process to revoke a power of attorney may involve something as simple as completing and submitting what is known as a revocation power of attorney to the proper court. A document of this type simply states that the individual submitting the withdrawal or revocation no longer wishes for the agent to represent his or her interest and that the previously granted power of attorney is rendered null and void as of a specific date. Typically, the document is considered binding on the same day that it is received by the court and reviewed for accuracy.
In most instances, there is no requirement that you cite the reason why you want to revoke a power of attorney. This does not mean that a reason cannot be included, if the filer of the revocation document wishes to do so, provided the reason is based on verifiable fact. The inclusion of a specific reason or reasons is sometimes utilized as a means of creating an additional legal document that can be used in some type of civil action against the agent at a later date.
There are also jurisdictions around the world that would require more detail to be included in the event that an irrevocable power of attorney is involved. Since this particular type of power of attorney often has to do with some type of contractual arrangement, it is necessary to successfully demonstrate that the agent has failed to comply with the terms of that contract before his or her authorization can be revoked. Attorneys can review all relevant data and help prepare a revocation even on this type of document, assuming that a breach of contract has taken place.
Today, there are a number of legal firms that provide access to online templates that can be used to revoke a power of attorney. Once reviewed and signed, the firm can take whatever steps are necessary to make the document binding. While convenient, using this method to revoke a power of attorney is not recognized in some court systems, and it may still be necessary to meet with an attorney or a clerk of the court to present a hard copy of the revocation.
@Soulfox -- True, but I have seen some powers of attorney that state a verbal revocation is sufficient. I wouldn't count on that. The reason I say that is, in a lot of cases, the document setting up the power of attorney is filed on record with the court in the county where the power was established.
Since that is the case, do you really think a verbal revocation will be effective if questioned? What if someone gives a verbal revocation and then becomes sick and is not capable of revoking that power? It would be hard to prove the power was revoked, huh?
So, the best thing to do even if the power of attorney can be revoked verbally is to make out a written revocation referencing the document setting up the power of attorney, having the revocation notarized and then filing it in the courthouse. That is what we call proof.
Typically, the document establishing power of attorney will also spell out how it is to be revoked or under what circumstances it will expire. In any event, anyone signing one of those things should understand very well how to revoke them. If you are going to give someone a considerably amount of power of your affairs, you had better know how to terminate that power or how long that power will last.
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