A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an individual, known as the principal, to delegate authority to another individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to act on their behalf. However, there may be instances where you wish to revoke that power. Revoking a POA can be a simple procedure, but it's crucial to understand that the laws governing this process can differ from state to state. This article will guide you through the process of revoking a POA in New Jersey.
How to Revoke Power of Attorney
Revoking a Power of Attorney (POA) in New Jersey involves several strategic steps. Here's what you need to do:
- Create a New Power of Attorney Document: One way to revoke a POA is to create a new one. Typically, creating a new POA automatically revokes the previous one. However, the new POA document should explicitly state that it revokes all prior POAs to avoid any confusion. You'll need to select a new agent and specify their powers. Ensure your new POA document complies with the New Jersey Statutes Title 46:2B-8.1–46:2B-8.14 regarding POAs.
- Draft a Revocation Letter: If you don't want to establish a new POA, you can write a POA revocation document. This document should state your name, the name of the agent in the existing POA, and a clear statement that you're revoking the POA. It should mention the date of the existing POA you're revoking and should state that all powers granted to the agent are now null and void.
- Sign and Notarize: Your revocation document should be signed by you and notarized. A notary public will verify your identity and your understanding of the document you're signing. Unlike some other states, New Jersey does not require additional witness signatures. However, having a witness can provide an extra layer of protection.
- Notify the Agent and Third Parties: After your revocation document is signed and notarized, provide a copy to your former agent. It's also wise to notify any third parties (like banks, healthcare providers, or real estate agents) who may have been working with your former agent under the power of the revoked POA.
- Record the Revocation: If your original POA was recorded in your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey (for instance, if it pertained to real estate), you should record the revocation there too.
- Safekeeping: Keep a copy of the revocation document in a safe place. If any disputes arise later, you'll have proof that you properly revoked the POA.
The costs associated with revoking a Power of Attorney (POA) in New Jersey can vary, but they are generally minimal. Some potential costs you might face include notary fees, possible legal fees, and recording fees.
- Notary Fees: Your POA revocation document needs to be notarized in New Jersey. Notary fees in New Jersey can range from $2.50 to $15.00 per signature.
- Legal Fees: While you can revoke a POA yourself, there might be situations where you would want to consult with an attorney, particularly if the POA involves complex issues. Legal fees can vary widely depending on the complexity of your situation and the lawyer's experience. Some lawyers might charge a flat fee for POA services, which can range from $100 to $500, while others may charge by the hour.
- Recording Fees: If your original POA was recorded with your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey, you should record your revocation document there as well. The recording fee in New Jersey can vary by county, but it typically ranges from $30 to $50.
The role of a lawyer
Although the process of revoking a Power of Attorney (POA) can be managed on your own, there are situations where consulting with a lawyer can be beneficial. If the POA has complex provisions or if there are disputes among the parties involved, seeking legal advice can be invaluable. Additionally, if the original POA was drafted by a lawyer, it's a good idea to consult with them or another legal professional to ensure the revocation is done correctly.
State-specific rules and laws
In New Jersey, the revocation of a Power of Attorney (POA) is governed by state law, specifically the New Jersey Statutes Title 46:2B-8.1–46:2B-8.14. Under these statutes, a POA can be revoked by executing a new POA that expressly revokes the prior one or by drafting a separate revocation document. Regardless of the method, the revocation should clearly state your intention to revoke the POA.
New Jersey law requires that the revocation be acknowledged before a notary public. Once the revocation document is notarized, you should provide a copy to your former agent and any third parties that may have been dealing with your agent under the authority of the original POA. If the original POA was recorded with your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey, the revocation should also be recorded there.
How long does it take to revoke a power of attorney
The time it takes to revoke a Power of Attorney (POA) can vary depending on the circumstances, but it can generally be done within a few days. The process includes drafting the revocation document or a new POA, getting the document notarized, and sending notifications to the appropriate parties. If the original POA was recorded with your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey, you would also need to record the revocation there, which could add additional time to the process.
Revoking a power of attorney if you don’t have the original document
If you have lost or don't have access to the original POA document, you can still revoke it. You can create a new POA that specifically states it revokes all previous POAs. Alternatively, you can draft a revocation document that provides as much detail as possible about the original POA, including the date it was created and the name of the agent. In both cases, you should inform your agent and any third parties of the revocation. If the original POA was recorded with your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey, you should record the revocation there as well.
How agents can revoke power of attorney
An agent, also known as an attorney-in-fact, cannot revoke a Power of Attorney (POA). However, they can resign from their position. If an agent wishes to resign, they should provide written notice to the principal, any co-agents, and any third parties they have dealt with under the POA. If the POA was recorded with your local County Clerk's Office in New Jersey, the agent's resignation should be recorded there as well.
Revoking a family member's power of attorney
Only the principal, the person who granted the POA, can revoke it. If you're concerned that a family member acting as an agent is abusing their power or not acting in the best interests of the principal, you can bring these concerns to the attention of the principal or, if the principal is not competent, to the court. If the court finds that the agent is not acting in the principal's best interest, it can revoke the POA and appoint a guardian or conservator.
Types of Power of Attorney: Durable and Healthcare
New Jersey recognizes several types of POA, including Durable POA and Healthcare POA. A Durable POA remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. A Healthcare POA, on the other hand, specifically covers healthcare decisions. Both types of POA can be revoked by the principal at any time, as long as the principal is competent.
Revoking power of attorney if you have dementia
If you have dementia and wish to revoke your POA, the key question is whether you have the mental capacity to make this decision. If you're in the early stages of dementia and still have the capacity to make informed decisions, you can revoke your POA. If your dementia has advanced to the point where you're no longer able to make informed decisions, a court may need to become involved.
Impact of marriage on power of attorney
Getting married does not automatically revoke a pre-existing POA in New Jersey. If you wish to grant your new spouse POA, you would need to create a new POA that appoints your spouse as your agent. However, divorce does automatically revoke a spouse's POA, unless the POA document states otherwise.
Does establishing guardianship revoke a POA?
Establishing guardianship does not automatically revoke a POA in New Jersey. The court will decide whether the POA should remain in effect or be revoked. If the court revokes the POA, the guardian would then take over the duties previously assigned to the agent under the POA.