Powers of attorney play a key role in many estate plans. Though these documents are very flexible and are able to give you peace of mind in knowing that your important affairs will be managed by someone you select, you also need to know how to end the powers. Here is what you need to know about stopping a power of attorney.
As a principal (a person who makes a power of attorney), you maintain the ability to terminate the agent’s authority at any time and for any reason. As long as you are of sound mind you can terminate a POA when you choose, but must do so by telling the agent.
Powers of attorney can also end when you become incapacitated. If you should lose your ability to make choices and can no longer choose to terminate the power of attorney, the powers automatically terminate.
However, this only applies to non-durable powers. If you’ve created a durable power of attorney, the agent retains the ability to act even if you become incapable of revoking the powers.
You cannot force anyone to become your agent, and agents can choose to give up their powers. However, an agent must act in the principal’s best interests. So, if they want to stop representing you they must end the principal-agent relationship without damaging your interests.
All powers of attorney cease when the principal dies. You can give someone the ability to represent your estate by appointing an executor in your will, but your agent can only represent your interests while you are alive.