A power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning tools you can set up. Basically, a power of attorney authorizes another person or entity to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacitation.
Sometimes, however, the individual you accord the financial or healthcare power of attorney might no longer be fit for the job. Fortunately, a power of attorney isn’t set in stone. Thus, you can revoke it at any time, and for whatever reason.
Here are three reasons why you may consider changing or revoking your power of attorney.
1. When there are changes in the relationship
It is not uncommon to appoint a close relative (like a spouse) to make healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf. But what happens if you divorce or separate? If this has happened or if you no longer trust them, then it makes sense to review their role in your life. And this might include stripping them of their power of attorney designations.
2. Incapacitation or death
Obviously, the individual you grant powers of attorney must be alive and in perfect mental health to execute their job. This means that if they are diagnosed with degenerative conditions like dementia you may need to replace them.
3. Concerns over their availability
Ideally, you want the agent you’ve entrusted with your healthcare or financial decisions to be available on short notice. To this end, it makes sense to have an agent who lives in the same city. If they have since relocated overseas or if they cannot be available on reasonable notice, then it may be time to cancel the power of attorney.
Yes, you may revoke the power of attorney. However, you must have the mental capacity to do so. And once you’ve revoked the power of attorney, be sure to notify the old agent of the changes.