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Friday, April 30, 2021

Revoking a Power of Attorney

Florida law controls how a person can revoke a power of attorney. It is essential to follow the rules and take additional practical steps to protect your rights when revoking a power of attorney. A Florida estate planning attorney can advise you on the specific things that you need to do in your situation.

How to Revoke a Power of Attorney in Florida

Let’s say that you signed a power of attorney, but you later change your mind and no longer want the document to give the person that legal authority. Section 709.2110 of the Florida statutes allows you to write a new power of attorney or another writing that expressly revokes the previous power of attorney.

Merely executing a new power of attorney does not revoke the previous document unless you expressly revoke the earlier paper in the new writing. Also, you must sign the new writing.

The statute says that you may give notice to the agent named in your earlier power of attorney. Although the law does not require you to notify your previous agent, it is a good idea to do so. You would not want that person to continue relying on that earlier document and do work on your behalf.

As a practical matter, you might want to take these additional steps after you sign a new power of attorney or some other paper that expressly revokes the earlier document:

  • Directly inform the previous power of attorney in writing that he is no longer the agent under your power of attorney, and he is not authorized to take any further actions on your behalf pursuant to the earlier document.
  • Send written notice of the revocation to your banks, brokerage houses, and other entities who had relied on the previous power of attorney.
  • Send those parties a copy of the new power of attorney.
  • Discuss the terms of the new power of attorney with the person you name as your agent in that document.

Depending on your situation, you might want to take additional steps to protect your rights and avoid confusion or embarrassment for your previous agent.

Reasons to Revoke a Power of Attorney

Many things can happen in life that make it appropriate to change the agent named in a power of attorney. For example:

  • Spouses often execute a power of attorney to give each other the legal authority to act on their behalf if they are unavailable or incapacitated. If your marriage ends by death or divorce, you will want to revoke the power of attorney.
  • You might decide that the agent you named in the earlier power of attorney is no longer someone you want to have access to your assets. By way of example, in a durable power of attorney, you might name a sibling to serve as your agent if you become incapacitated. Years later, that sibling does something that makes you question their trustworthiness or reliability. You might decide to name someone as your agent.
  • If you named a company as your agent, and the firm closes its doors permanently, you will need to select a different agent.
  • When you name a professional, like your financial planner, to serve as your agent, you will need to choose someone else after that person retires.
  • Whoever you name as your agent in your power of attorney, you will need to make a change of agent when that person dies or becomes incapacitated.

There could be other reasons why you might want to revoke a power of attorney. A Florida estate planning attorney can draft the documents you need to safeguard your assets. Get in touch with our office today.


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The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A. assists clients in Florida, including North Pinellas County, Palm Harbor, Trinity, West Pasco County, and the surrounding areas.



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