A power of attorney (POA) is a legal designation in which one person gives legal authority to someone else to act on their behalf. The person giving the authority to act is called the “principal.” The "agent" is someone who steps in for the principal. In some situations, an agent may decide, "I don't want to be power of attorney anymore," and resign as POA for several reasons.
- The arrangement may not be convenient for them due to location or work responsibilities.
- The agent may not want the responsibility of looking after another person’s affairs.
- An agent may decide to resign if the principal’s decision to appoint one child as their agent leads to fighting between the other siblings.
The agent is free to enter a POA resignation at any time. The principal must be made aware of the decision.
Types of Powers of Attorney
There are two main types of powers of attorney: a general POA and a medical POA.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney gives the agent the legal authority to act for the principal in financial and other matters. This document can also hand the agent authority to take charge of their income taxes.
Read More: What is an Irrevocable Power of Attorney?
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical POA is also called a health care agent or a health care proxy. This document allows an agent to make medical decisions for an incapacitated principal (due to illness or an accident). The agent ensures that the medical team follows the advance directive instructions.
POA Resignation the Right Way
The best way to resign as POA is to share the message with the principal simply and clearly. The agent can advise the principal in person or by letter, or both.
Read More: How to Fill Out a General Power of Attorney
POA Resignation in Person
The agent can meet with the principal and say they will not be acting as power of attorney moving forward. The agent advises the principal when the resignation takes effect (immediately or at a set future date).
POA Agent Resignation by Letter
An agent can send a resignation letter to the principal ending the POA relationship. It’s always a good idea to use a method that provides proof of delivery, such as Registered Mail or a courier service.
Some POAs have more than one agent listed on the document. Advise any other agents of the POA resignation news. If the POA agent who is quitting has already been dealing with the principal’s bank or any other company, notify them as well.
Read more: How to Transfer a Title with a Power of Attorney
Relinquish Power of Attorney Form Letter
The text of a relinquish power of attorney form letter could read as follows:
Dear [Name of Principal],
Please be advised that as of [the date of this letter or month/day/year – fill in the appropriate date], I will not be able to continue acting as your agent concerning your power of attorney dated [include the date of the power of attorney document].
[In the next paragraph, the agent can choose to explain the reasons for resigning as POA. It is not a requirement, though. For example: As you are probably aware, my upcoming move to the East Coast means I will be living several hours away from you. I feel that you should have someone who lives closer managing your affairs.]
I will always appreciate your trust and confidence in me to act as your agent.
[Name of Agent]
Final Word About POA Resignation
Do consult an attorney before resigning as a POA. Ask the lawyer if the resignation letter needs to be notarized.
Jodee Redmond is a freelance writer, blogger and editor who has been working full-time for over 15 years. She is a graduate of Centennial College and has worked as a tax consultant and a legal assistant. Her previous experience and boundless curiosity is a distinct advantage when writing about such varied topics as income tax, insurance, commercial property, business, construction, addiction, freelance writing and more.