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Once granted can powers of attorney be revoked?

It is a difficult decision, naming a person to act as a personal representative to assist with financial matters or in the event one becomes incapacitated. After the choice is made and the legal documents completed, can powers of attorney be revoked if the agent is overstepping or not performing his or her duties appropriately? Thankfully, this is something for which the laws in Michigan and elsewhere do allow.

When one, the principal, assigns powers of attorney to someone he or she believes to be a trusted individual, the agent, he or she expects that person to act in his or her best interests. Sadly, there are times when agents have their own agendas. When this happens, the principal or other family members may not be sure what their options are to stop the misuse of power.

The principal, if he or she is capable of making his or her own decisions, still has legal control over his or her assets. It is the agent who is supposed to be restricted in his or her actions. If the principal is incapacitated, the agent is still bound by law to act in the principal's best interests. If this is not happening the principal or other concerned parties can:

  • Report suspected abuse of power to Adult Protective Services
  • Seek assistance from an attorney to have the the agent's authority terminated
  • Create a new power of attorney with someone else listed as the agent

No one wants to go through all of this, but sometimes it is necessary. Powers of attorney are designed to protect the principal, not for the agent to benefit him or herself. Michigan residents who find themselves dealing with a rouge agent situation can seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney in order to seek the termination of the agent's authority and reassignment of power to a more trusted individual.

Source: mysanantonio.com, "How to reclaim control from rogue agent", Paul Premack, April 17, 2017

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