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When and How to Change Your Power of Attorney

There are many reasons you might need to change your power of attorney. You might fall out of touch with that person, they may no longer be a suitable choice, or you might simply change your mind. Luckily, your power of attorney can easily be changed to name someone else instead. Here’s when and how you can change your power of attorney. 

When to Make a Change to Your Power of Attorney

You should update your power of attorney (POA) as soon as the person you chose fails to be a good fit for the role. For instance, if you no longer talk to that person, or if they pass away or become disabled, you’ll need to choose someone else.

If you’re ever unsure of your current choice, don’t hesitate to make a change. If you become incapacitated before changing your POA agent, there’s no guarantee that your wishes will be met. The person you choose cannot transfer the responsibility to someone else. 

How to Change or Cancel Your Power of Attorney

1: Fill Out a Revocation Form

No matter whether you wish to make minor changes to your power of attorney or cancel it completely, you must revoke the current document first. You will need to fill out a revocation form (find an example here) that will cancel all types of power of attorney you currently have in place (medical, financial, general, etc.). 

2: Inform Your Current POA Agent

Let your current power of attorney agent(s) know that you intend to revoke or have already revoked the document by sending them a written statement. If you’ve shared copies of your POA with your doctors or a financial institution, make sure to send them a copy of the statement as well. 

Even if you plan to name the same person as your agent and just change the terms, it’s important to inform them of your plans. Communicating with your POA agent will help prevent disputes over who is supposed to fulfill the role or what your instructions are when the time comes. 

3: Get Rid of the Old Document

After you’ve revoked the previous power of attorney, make sure to destroy the old documents. Gather all the copies that you, your POA agent, and any family members have and shred them. Holding on to the old records could cause confusion regarding your wishes. Once you make the new power of attorney document, make sure to send a copy to the agent as well as the appropriate family members, doctors, and financial institutions.

4: Create a New Power of Attorney

Finally, you should always work with an experienced estate planning attorney when you draft your new POA document. They can help ensure that the document is valid and that you don’t leave out any vital information. 

When creating your new POA document, you should also consider naming successor agents. If your primary choice refuses or abuses the role, passes away, becomes incapacitated, etc., then the position can be transferred to the next person in line. 

Arizona Estate Planning Lawyer

Are you considering changing your power of attorney? The expert team at Phelps LaClair can help guide you through the process. We’ve been assisting Arizona families with their estate plans for over 40 years. Call us at 480-892-2488  today to schedule a free consultation at one of our many convenient local offices

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/9/2022). Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

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