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Why would you revoke a power of attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) grants someone the power to act on your behalf, with all of the decision-making capability that you normally have. POAs can be drafted for both medical and financial concerns and are often used by people to manage the affairs of their relatives once those relatives are no longer able to manage things on their own.

When you grant someone your power of attorney, you retain the right to revoke that authority as long as you are competent -- and there are often good reasons to do so. Here are a few:

1. The individual you've chosen is no longer around.

Most of the time, POAs are granted to someone who lives close enough to be useful in an emergency. If the person you've chosen to act in your stead has moved out of town or is otherwise unavailable for the foreseeable future, it's probably time to select someone new.

2. You no longer have the same relationship with that person.

This happens more frequently than many people realize. For example, it's common to give your spouse your POA. If you divorce, however, you probably don't want your ex-spouse to have decision-making authority on your behalf any longer and will need to choose someone else.

3. You have simply changed your mind.

Sometimes people grant someone a POA and then find out that the person they've chosen simply isn't trustworthy. Other times, people have a "falling out" and no longer enjoy a warm relationship with their POA. You always want to be comfortable with your choice, so "changing your mind" is a perfectly acceptable reason to revoke a POA.

Choosing someone to hold your power of attorney is an important decision. If you need more advice, talk to an elder law attorney about your concerns.

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