Can You Revoke a Power of Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

September 15, 2022

Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document giving another person the authority to act on your behalf. In some circumstances, you may suspect the individual with this authority is abusing their position or otherwise should be removed. While state law may vary to some degree, you can revoke Power of Attorney under North Carolina law.

Read on to learn about revoking Power of Attorney and how to go through the process.

When It’s Time to Revoke a POA

Having a Power of Attorney is helpful under certain circumstances. If you become incapacitated for some reason, such as an accident, Power of Attorney allows a trusted individual to pay your bills, garage your car, and take care of other details.

However, there are also times when you might want to revoke or take back Power of Attorney.

Types of Power of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney gives the person you select (called an agent) legal authority to act on your behalf for almost everything, from transferring money to selling a car.

A special, or limited, Power of Attorney gives an agent authority for a specific act. You might have a health care Power of Attorney for medical decisions and another agent to handle your finances.

Theft or Financial Abuse

You would want to revoke Power of Attorney from an agent who steals money from you or abuses their financial authority.

You are legally responsible for everything your agent does. If they commit a crime, you could also be penalized.

Poor Judgement

You would expect your agent to exercise sound judgment when acting on your behalf. When they don’t, you may revoke their authority.

Agent Is No Longer Available

You should revoke your POA if your agent moves away or becomes incapable of fulfilling their duties.

Change in Relationship

Married couples who chose each other for Power of Attorney should revoke that privilege if the relationship ends. It is not uncommon for a vengeful ex to abuse their authority, such as emptying their spouse’s bank account.

How to Revoke Power of Attorney

Most of the time, a Power of Attorney has an expiration date. For example, if you’re going to have heart surgery, you might assign an agent with Power of Attorney for a few months until you’re back on your feet. Other powers of attorney last a year or longer. They should not be indefinite.

A Power of Attorney automatically terminates on the expiration date. North Carolina gives you a couple of options if you want to revoke a POA before it expires.

Destroy the Original POA

Under North Carolina §32A-13, a Power of Attorney that is “burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed” is revoked. Since you must destroy all copies, including the original, this option is risky. If even one copy of the POA is intact, your agent is still authorized to act on your behalf.

Revocation of Power of Attorney Form

A Revocation of Power of Attorney form is a document that invalidates the original POA when properly filed and executed. A North Carolina Revocation of Power of Attorney form terminates the powers initially given to the agent.

A POA revocation form terminates all kinds of previously drafted powers of attorney, including general, limited, and durable.

Filing a POA Revocation Form

When you are trying to terminate a former spouse’s POA, you want to be sure that this authority is legally terminated. Revoking the Power of Attorney is more than completing a form. Working with an attorney gives you peace of mind that everything is in order and your original POA is void.

Completing the Revocation Form

You should have the original POA document while completing the form. It contains dates and other information necessary to complete the Revocation of Power of Attorney Form.

Required information for filling out the Revocation Form includes:

  • Your legal name and address
  • Name and address of the agent
  • Date of the original Power of Attorney
  • Date of the North Carolina Revocation of Power of Attorney form

Sign the Revocation Form

You must sign the Revocation POA Form in the presence of a notary. Most law firms have a notary on staff. The notary signs and seals the form.

Provide Copies of the Revocation Form

To invalidate the original POA, you (or an attorney) must provide copies of the Revocation Form to the agent and everyone who has a copy of the original Power of Attorney. You might want to use registered receipt mail or some other form of certified delivery to ensure that all parties receive the Revocation.

Print a Legal Notice

For extra protection, you may also publish a legal notice of the Revocation in a North Carolina newspaper.

Use an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you’re considering removing a Power of Attorney, you should discuss your options and next steps with an experienced lawyer. You don’t want to risk legal or financial disaster by failing to revoke this authority properly.

With offices in Angier, Raleigh, Garner, and Smithfield, The Breeden Law Office can help. Contact the Breeden Law Office online or call(919) 661-4970.


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