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How to Relinquish Power of Attorney

Updated February 21, 2017

Powers of attorney allow a person to make decisions for someone else. These powers establish a principal-agent relationship, whereby the principal grants the agent the power of attorney. When an agent, also called the attorney-in-fact, wishes to relinquish decision-making powers, specific steps must be taken. Each state has different requirements for how powers of attorney operate, so research the relevant law or talk to an attorney before taking any actions.

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  1. Read the power of attorney document. The written document conveying power of attorney may contain information about what you must do to relinquish your status as attorney-in-fact. Read the document carefully and follow any requirements included about termination by the agent.

  2. Contact the principal and notify him that you no longer wish to serve as his attorney-in-fact. You can do this orally but should also do it in writing.

  3. Notify the replacement. If the power of attorney document names alternate agents, you should notify the alternate of your decision as well. Power of attorney documents grant you important powers but also impose duties. Once you accept the duties of attorney-in-fact, you must comply with them for as long as legally required, which may include a duty to ensure a proper passing of powers to the replacement.

  4. Notify third parties or file with the court. If you've filed or registered a power of attorney with a third party, or with a state official or court clerk, you may also have to file a notice that you've relinquished your power.

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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.

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