Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without a Lawyer?

When you let someone make decisions for you through power of attorney, it covers things like your finances and health choices.

But if things change, you might want to change or cancel it.

You can do this without a lawyer, but you need to follow the rules to make it legal.

This article explores the process of changing a power of attorney without a lawyer.

Learn the steps, reasons, and legal aspects involved in updating or canceling your power of attorney, and find out if you can navigate this without legal assistance.

An Image Representing Change of Power of Attorney
Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without a Lawyer?

When is it Necessary to Cancel or Revoke a Power of Attorney?

You might want to change or end a power of attorney for several reasons, such as:

  1. If You Don’t Trust Your Current Person: If your relationship with the person you chose to help you has changed, and you don’t trust them anymore, you might want to pick someone new.
  2. When Your Life Changes: Life can bring surprises like getting married, divorced, or having big life events. If this happens, you might need to update your Power of Attorney.
  3. If Your Attorney Can’t Do the Job Anymore: Sometimes, your attorney might not be able to handle your affairs anymore because things in your life, money, or health have changed.
  4. When Your Chosen Person Isn’t Around: If the person you picked is often away or doesn’t live nearby anymore, you might want to choose someone else.
  5. If Your Chosen Person Passes Away: If the person you chose has passed away, you’ll need to pick a new person or update the Power of Attorney contract.

How to Make a Power of Attorney Change

Typically, altering a power of attorney involves these five main steps:

  1. Tell Your Current Power of Attorney: Let them know if you want to make changes or take away their authority. Talk about the changes and how they will happen.
  2. Write Down the Changes: Changes to a power of attorney need to be written. Some places have specific forms, while others just need a letter explaining the changes. Write down exactly what you are changing or stopping.
  3. Put in the Important Details: Make sure the written document has the necessary information like names and dates. If you’re not sure, you can write a general statement saying you’re taking back all current power of attorney assignments.
  4. Get It Checked and Registered if Needed: Get someone to check and confirm the document (notarize) – this might cost a bit. If required, register the document where you did the first power of attorney.
  5. Tell Everyone About It: Let everyone who needs to know about your power of attorney change. Tell those who work with it or should be aware of the changes. This step is not a must, but it can help avoid confusion later.

What Tasks Can I Delegate to My New Agent?

You can ask your agent to:

  • Buy or sell things for you
  • Apply for benefits (like Medicaid or Social Security)
  • Run your business
  • Collect money owed to you
  • Invest your money
  • Cash checks
  • Handle legal matters for you.

In the new power of attorney, clearly say what your agent can do and when.

While not a must, getting advice from a lawyer can make sure everything is legal and in your best interest.

When Does My New Power of Attorney Start and How Long Does It Last?

Your power of attorney can begin right away or later, depending on a date or event like a doctor saying you can’t decide.

It can last for a certain time or forever, but it stops when you pass away, and it’s not a replacement for a will.

You might not need a lawyer to decide when and how long your power of attorney lasts, but they can help with advice based on your situation.

An Image of Power of Attorney
How Long Does Power of Attorney Last? Photo Source (Freepik)

Conclusion

A power of attorney lets someone make decisions for you about money and health.

If things change, you can update or cancel it without a lawyer, following the rules.

Reasons include trust issues, life changes, or the person not being able to help anymore.

The process involves telling them, writing down changes, checking, and telling others.

Tasks for the new person can vary and should be written down. It lasts until you pass away, and a lawyer isn’t needed, but their advice helps.