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When do I change my Power of Attorney?

Changing and updating your estate plan is often a regular occurrence throughout your life. Generally, when you want to make a change to your Power of Attorney, you may want to revoke it and make a new one. There are two main reasons for updating your Power of Attorney:

  • You have an issue with your appointed agent.
  • You may want to change the items and decisions your Power of Attorney covers.

Some common issues that could arise surrounding your agent:

  • You and your agent may have a personal falling out, including a divorce. As such, you may no longer feel comfortable having this person make decisions on your behalf.
  • Your agent may pass away or may no longer be able to make the decisions you once believed they were capable of making.
  • Your agent may suddenly inform you he or she is no longer willing or able to perform the required functions.

In other words, if you are no longer satisfied with your agent, updating your Power of Attorney can be a smart idea. Though, do keep in mind that you can include a second, alternate agent in your original POA. This is extremely helpful if your original agent is sick or has passed away. Naming an alternate means you do not have to make another document in these types of situations. If you do not want the currently named agent to be named anymore, however, revoking the current Power of Attorney and making a new one may be required.

You may also want to revoke your Power of Attorney because you feel it is too narrow or too broad. For example, if you have a Medical Power of Attorney, you may have a change of heart about "do not resuscitate" instructions or certain procedures or situations. You'll want to revoke your Medical Power of Attorney and make a new one to reflect these changes.

How do I end a Power of Attorney?

So long as you are not incapacitated, Ending a Power of Attorney is generally not too difficult. First, complete a Revocation of Power of Attorney document and distribute it to your agent, estate planning attorney, and anyone else who may need to know about your decision. Do make sure your original agent receives this revocation so he or she knows that your wishes in the original document are no longer valid.

After that, you may want to make a new Power of Attorney that reflects the changes you want. If you do not make a new Power of Attorney, generally, you will be responsible for managing your own affairs without an appointed agent.

Can a Durable Power of Attorney be changed?

Generally, changing an active Medical or Durable Power of Attorney after a person is incapacitated and the Power of Attorney has stepped into action can be complicated. It may require court intervention, particularly if there is mismanagement or disagreements. Due to this difficulty in changing your agent after a person is incapacitated, it is important to update your Durable and Medical Power of Attorney documents as soon as life changes who you want to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.

If you have more questions about updating, revoking or canceling a Power of Attorney, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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