As an estate planning attorney, I am often asked what needs to be done to terminate a Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”). In Florida, there are two ways to accomplish such a termination.
First, an existing DPOA can be terminated by executing a new DPOA which includes language revoking all prior powers of attorney. An example of this would be the following language in a new DPOA: “This Durable Power of Attorney shall revoke and replace all prior Durable Powers of Attorney executed by me, effective immediately.”
Secondly, a DPOA can be revoked by executing a separate document expressly revoking the existing DPOA. An example of the type of language in such a document would be: “I, ___, as principal, hereby terminate and revoke the Durable Power of Attorney executed by me on ___ and instruct that all persons named therein as my agent or attorney shall cease acting under the authority of said instrument.” This document would need to be signed by the principal and we recommend that it be witnessed by two witnesses and notarized.
When an existing DPOA is revoked, it is important to notify any agents named under that DPOA that they no longer have authority to act. This notice should be made in writing and if the principal is concerned about misuse of the DPOA, it should be served by hand-delivery or certified mail on all persons named in the existing DPOA. Another step to protect against misuse if a DPOA is revoked is to record the revocation document in the pubilc records of the county where the principal resides.
The reasons for revoking a DPOA can be many. In some cases it is the result of changed circumstances–such as someone no longer being available. However, in other instances, it is because there is the threat of misuse or abuse of the DPOA. In either case, correctly documenting the termination of the existing DPOA is important.
If you have concerns about an agent using–or misusing–the power of a DPOA, you should contact an experienced estate attorney for advice.