To revoke a power of attorney for finances, you can either destroy all copies of the document or execute a notice of revocation. Execution has a few technical requirements that
must be complied with before revocation can be regarded as legally valid and it is the preferred method because it generates proof of revocation.
The notion behind a notice of revocation is to alert your attorney-in-fact and other entities that you have revoked the durable power of attorney. A notice of revocation must be signed by you. Although witnesses are not required, having them may be a good idea if you think that your mental competence to execute the revocation might later be questioned.
If you recorded the original power of attorney document at your local registry of deeds office (because you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, or because you gave authority over your real estate to your attorney-in-fact), you have to record the revocation. Regardless of whether the original power of attorney document was recorded, you may record a revocation if you are concerned that the former attorney-in-fact might attempt to act without authorization. Recording the revocation tells people who later inspect the public records that the former attorney-in-fact is not authorized to act for you.
For a notice of revocation to take effect, you must give a copy of it to the former attorney-in-fact and to all entities that have transacted business or that might transact business with the former attorney-in-fact. This written notice is necessary because entities that do not know that the power of attorney has been revoked could, in good faith, transact business with the former attorney-in-fact. In such a case, you could be held responsible for the acts of your attorney-in-fact, despite your attempted revocation. Remember -- once you create a durable power of attorney, you have the obligation to be sure that everyone is aware you have revoked it.
The entities that have transacted business or that might transact business with the former attorney-in-fact may include:
- lawyers, accountants, real estate agents
- banks, mortgage companies
- insurance companies
- government benefit offices
- Internal Revenue Service
- post offices
Besides revocation, there are two other ways that a durable power of attorney will end: there is no one available to serve as the attorney-in-fact or you, as the person creating the document, die. In a majority of states, the actions of an attorney-in-fact are legitimate if she did not know of your death and continued to act for you. If you want your attorney-in-fact to have any power over wrapping up your affairs after your death, that power should be granted in your will.
Copyright 2010 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.