How to Void a Power of Attorney

By Lisa Parris

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf in your absence. It is commonly used by military members or others who may have to spend extended lengths of time away from home, but can be used by anyone who feels they may need someone to represent them in the event they are unable to do so for themselves. The representative you choose should be someone you deeply trust who you know will only respond with your best interests at heart and in accordance with your personal wishes. Alas, we sometimes come to find a person we once had complete confidence in is no longer trustworthy. The guide below outlines the steps you need to follow to make a power of attorney null and void.

Make out a new power of attorney detailing the updated information, naming the new representative. Having a second power of attorney on file can help to resolve any issues that may result from the revocation of the older, out-of-date power of attorney.

Write the revocation. This is a simple one page statement removing the power of attorney from the person to whom it was originally given. You can use a pre-done legal form or write your own. Begin with the following phrase, "I, (your name), do hereby revoke, withdraw and terminate the power of attorney granted to (current power of attorney holder's name) on or around (date the original power of attorney was granted), effective as of (the current date). Any attempt by (name of current power of attorney holder) to use or otherwise take advantage of the power of attorney formerly granted to them beyond this date will be considered invalid and fraudulent." Leave space at the bottom for your name, date and signature. Do not sign the form yet.

Take the statement to a notary public. Make sure you have government issued photo identification with you. Sign and date the statement in their presence to receive the notary seal.

File copies of your revocation statement any place you think your original may have been used. Be sure to include your attorney (if applicable), the bank, credit card companies, insurance agents, the family physician and the county recorder or records clerk. Distribute a copy of your new power of attorney to each of these places as well.

Get the original power of attorney returned to you. Print the word 'REVOKED' across the center of the form. Sign and date directly beneath the declaration.

Mail a copy of your signed, dated, notarized revocation statement to the original power of attorney holder via registered or certified mail. Even if he refuses to return the original to you, you will have proof that he has been notified of your decisions. The revocation is effective as soon as it has been communicated, whether the recipient agrees with your decision or not.

Place an ad in the legal notices section of your local newspaper announcing the revocation of your power of attorney and try to recover and destroy any copies of the original that may be on file with local business, offices, or companies.

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.