How to remove power of attorney from someone

Have you ever wondered how to remove power of attorney from someone?

There are four ways to cancel power of attorney, and the most effective involves creating a ‘revocation of a power of attorney’ document.

  • Revocation
  • Death
  • Termination date
  • Contested POA

In this article, we will take a closer look at taking power of attorney from someone, paying close attention to the following points:

  • Methods of taking POA away from someone
  • The role of lawyers in revoking POA
  • Revoking POA as a family member
  • Contesting POA

What is a POA?

Before we begin, though, let’s get the obvious question out of the way first: what is a POA?

Simply put, a POA (power of attorney) is a legal document that authorizes an individual or organization (the ‘agent’) to act on behalf of another individual (the ‘principal’).

It allows the agent to carry out legal, financial, or healthcare-related actions on the principal’s behalf.

How do you take power of attorney away from someone?

Taking power of attorney away involves a formal legal process. The principal can generally revoke the POA at any time, as long as they are mentally competent. 


The first way that POA privileges can be removed is with a revocation.

A principal can revoke a POA simply by telling the agent that they don’t wish for them to retain power of attorney in front of witnesses.

However, a verbal revocation can leave the matter open to question or interpretation.

The best way to revoke a power of attorney is by issuing a written revocation of power of attorney document.

This should name both the principal and the agent and include details such as the principal’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number to avoid doubt.

It should be signed by witnesses and delivered directly to the affected agent.

Other parties who need to be notified should also have a copy delivered to them, e.g.banks, doctor’s offices, etc.


A power of attorney is automatically terminated upon the principal’s death.

The power of attorney becomes null and void, and the agent loses all legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased person.

After the principal’s death, the agent’s powers and responsibilities end, and the estate usually transitions to the administration of the executor named in the principal’s will.

However, in the case of no will, it depends on the laws of intestate succession in the relevant jurisdiction.

Termination Date

A limited power of attorney may be implemented if the principal wishes only to transfer POA for a set amount of time.

This may be because they will be indisposed for a length of time due to medical reasons or are leaving the country for an extended period.

A POA in these scenarios will often include a termination date. Once this date arrives, the POA will automatically expire.

Contested POA

A POA may be contested on behalf of the principal if they’re deemed to not be of sound mind.

A family member, legal guardian, or other close acquaintance may contest a POA for various reasons.

We’ll examine how and why POA may be contested or revoked on the principal’s behalf in more detail later.

Do you need a lawyer to revoke power of attorney?

No, you don’t usually need a lawyer to revoke power of attorney.

However, the laws regarding revocation procedures vary from state to state, so it’s worth investigating the specific procedures where you live to see what’s recommended.

In some states, such as West Virginia, a power of attorney can be revoked simply by informing the agent and destroying all copies of the existing POA document. 

Other states adopt a stricter approach, requiring a revocation document to be signed by the principal for the POA to be revoked.

Some states further require this document to be signed before a notary public to prove its authenticity.

Can a family member revoke a power of attorney?

So, who can override a power of attorney? Usually, this would only be a family member, legally appointed guardian, or other close loved one of the principal.

If a family member wishes to have a power of attorney revoked, their first step should be to ask the principal to revoke the authority, providing they are of sound mind.

If the principal is deemed not to be of sound mind, then a family member may approach the agent on their behalf, usually through a law firm.

If the agent refuses to forfeit power of attorney, the family member can petition a court to revoke it instead. 

The court will determine whether or not power of attorney should be revoked based on the evidence provided to them, such as the principal’s medical records.

Can power of attorney be changed without consent?

Can you change power of attorney without consent?

Yes, if the principal is deemed to have diminished mental capacity and can not make knowledgeable decisions on their own behalf. 

A court may also decide to terminate a power of attorney if there is evidence that the principal is somehow being abused by the agent.

A principal who is of sound mind can revoke even a durable power of attorney at any time, with no need to obtain the consent of the named agent.

The agent must be informed that the POA is being revoked, however.

Can a POA be contested if not revoked?

Yes, a POA can be contested even if it hasn’t been revoked. A POA may be contested because:

  • The principal wasn’t of sound mind when it was granted or didn’t fully understand the implications of granting it
  • The principal was coerced or unduly influenced into granting POA
  • POA was improperly executed, i.e., the legal requirements weren’t met
  • The agent isn’t acting in the best interests of the principal

How much does it cost to revoke power of attorney?

How much it costs to revoke power of attorney depends on the route you take. Revoking POA verbally costs nothing, although, as we discussed before, this can be problematic.

Thankfully, a revocation of power of attorney document can be created very cheaply.

PandaDoc gives you access to hundreds of highly customizable templates that help you craft legally binding documents, including revocations of power of attorney.

Then all you need to worry about is the cost of mailing it!