How to resign as power of attorney

Updated February 21, 2017

When you are named agent or attorney-in-fact, you can resign your powers of attorney at any time. A power of attorney is a special legal relationship that exists between two people: the principal and the agent. The principal is the person who allows someone else to make legally binding decisions on his or her behalf. The person who earns the right to make these decisions is the agent, often referred to as the attorney-in-fact. The laws governing principal-agent relationships differ between states, so make sure you know what your state requires.

Review the power of attorney documents. Powers of attorney are documents that spell out the details of the principal-agent relationship. Many of these contain terms or clauses that address what the agent must do to surrender powers. Review the document for any such terms or conditions.

Contact the principal. You should notify the principal of your decision to surrender your powers as soon as you decide to do so. As an attorney-in-fact, the law can hold you to a higher standard than that to which you would normally be subjected, and you may have a legal duty to ensure you do everything you can to ensure no harm comes to the principal because of your actions. To ensure no harm does occur, notifying the principal as soon as possible is necessary to allow the principal time to prepare or name another attorney-in-fact.

Prepare a written notification of your resignation. Make sure you send a written confirmation of your decision to the principal as soon as possible. Include all relevant details, such as on what day you will surrender your powers.

Sign the written notification in the presence of a notary public. Though it may not be required by your state's laws, having your termination notice notarised is a good idea because it provides an official recognition of the resignation. Once notarised, send the notice to the principal.

Contact third parties. Your actions as an attorney-in-fact may have had you interacting with third parties on behalf of the principal. Contact these third parties and notify them that you are no longer the principal's agent and no longer acting on the principal's behalf. Follow up such notices with written confirmation.

Contact the alternate agent. Many power of attorney documents name an alternate or backup agent if the current agent is unable or unwilling to perform the duties of attorney-in-fact. You should notify this agent as soon as you make your decision, and follow up the notification by sending written confirmation.


Contact a lawyer in your area. Surrendering power of attorney is usually not difficult but you should always consult a qualified attorney in your area if you need legal advice.

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About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.