Who Can Override A Power of Attorney? (A Lawyer Answers)
Occasionally, you may need to amend a power of attorney or prevent yours from being contested.
These circumstances may be unpleasant and challenging, leaving you with difficult legal problems.
Who specifically has the right to revoke a power of attorney?
If you want to invalidate a power of attorney, you must approach the courts. A court or legal guardian is the only entity with authority to revoke a power of attorney.
Before considering whether to invalidate a power of attorney, the court will review the specifics of your case.
If a court invalidates a power of attorney, it may appoint a guardian to make decisions in the signer's best interests.
Below, I’ll detail how to invalidate a power of attorney and what to do if your power of attorney is challenged.
A court may invalidate a power of attorney if it finds that the document was not executed correctly.
You must get legal counsel immediately if your power of attorney is being challenged.
If you suspect a family member's power of attorney is illegitimate or being abused, you may ask the court to revoke the document.
If a judge invalidates or overturns your power of attorney, it will no longer be valid.
You may have an unlimited number of powers of attorney.
Who Has the Authority to Override a Power of Attorney?
Under some conditions, a power of attorney may be revoked or rendered invalid.
A court may invalidate a power of attorney if it deems that it was not properly executed (e.g., not witnessed and signed as required by law) or obtained by fraud or duress.
If the court judges that the individual who signed the power of attorney can no longer make decisions for themselves, it may also appoint a guardian.
In these instances, the guardian would have the right to make decisions on behalf of the individual, and the power of attorney would no longer be in force.
Even though a court may invalidate a power of attorney, it cannot overrule the authority of the attorney-in-fact while the document is still valid.
So long as the document is legal and in effect, the attorney-in-fact can act in the best interests of the individual who signed the power of attorney.
Why Would Someone Want to Override a Power of Attorney?
Here are several probable reasons someone would want to contest or overturn a power of attorney:
The power of attorney was acquired by deception or coercion.
The individual who signed the power of attorney lacked the mental ability to do so at the time of signature.
The signer of the power of attorney has regained mental ability and no longer desires that the attorney-in-fact have the authority to act in their best interests.
The attorney-in-fact is not operating in the best interests of the person who executed the power of attorney and is instead utilizing their powers to further their own interests.
What Should I Do If My Power of Attorney Is Contested?
The first thing to do if your power of attorney is being challenged is to get legal counsel as soon as possible.
In these circumstances, a lawyer can assist you in understanding your rights and alternatives and represent you during court procedures.
If your power of attorney is challenged, the court will evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether to invalidate the document.
The court considers the mental ability of the individual who signed the power of attorney, the existence of proof of fraud or duress, and the validity of the document's execution.
If the court decides that the present attorney-in-fact is not operating in the best interests of the person who signed the power of attorney, it may also consider appointing a new attorney-in-fact.
Remember that the court's judgment in these circumstances is based on the signer of the power of attorney's best interests.
If you are the attorney-in-fact and feel you are operating in the best interests of the person who executed the power of attorney, you must provide proof to the court to support your assertion.
Can My Spouse Challenge a Power of Attorney?
As a legal designation, power of attorney always precedes a spouse's preferences.
If you have reservations about your partner's selected agent, you will likely still need to follow the above processes and seek court intervention to settle your issue.
However, discussing possible agents with your spouse and other family members might help you avoid such scenarios.
What Happens Once My Power of Attorney Is Revoked?
Suppose a court invalidates or overturns your power of attorney. In such a scenario, the power of attorney will no longer be valid, and you will no longer be authorized to represent the person who signed the document.
If your power of attorney was being used to manage the financial affairs of the individual who signed the instrument, they would need to find another method to handle their funds.
This may include designating a new attorney-in-fact or having a guardian appointed by the court to oversee their affairs.
If your power of attorney was being used to make healthcare decisions for the person who signed the instrument, they would need to make their own healthcare decisions or designate someone else to do so.
If you feel you were acting in the best interests of the individual who signed the power of attorney, you may choose to appeal the court's ruling.
A lawyer can advise you on your choices and guide you through the appeals process.
After My Previous Power of Attorney Has Been Revoked, May I Create a New One?
Yes, a new power of attorney may be created after the previous one has been revoked.
To create a new power of attorney, the same steps must be followed as when the first document was created.
Depending on your state's regulations, this normally includes having the person who will serve as attorney-in-fact sign a power of attorney paperwork that must be witnessed and notarized.
The individual who will serve as the attorney-in-fact must have the mental ability to comprehend the nature and implications of the document they are signing.
If the individual lacks the mental ability to make decisions, a court may appoint a guardian to make decisions on their behalf.
Where Can I Get an Updated Power of Attorney?
You may get forms for powers of attorney on your state's government website. You may also retain an attorney to draft a power of attorney.
In addition, physician's offices, hospitals, banks, and other financial organizations may keep forms for power of attorney.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against Someone Who Attempts to Invalidate My Power of Attorney?
In general, it is not possible to sue someone for attempting to nullify your power of attorney.
However, if someone uses fraudulent or malicious means to invalidate your power of attorney, you may be entitled to sue them.
Suppose, for instance, that someone gives the court fraudulent information to invalidate your power of attorney. In such a situation, you may be entitled to sue them for defamation or fraud.
To effectively sue someone for seeking to revoke your power of attorney, you'll need solid proof to support your case.
Consultation with an attorney may be useful in determining if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
How Many Powers of Attorney Can I Have?
You may have an unlimited number of powers of attorney. As long as you have the mental ability to comprehend the nature and ramifications of the instruments you are signing, you may have unlimited powers of attorney.
Each power of attorney must be confined to specified responsibilities or choices.
For instance, you may have one power of attorney granting someone the ability to make financial choices on your behalf and another granting someone the capacity to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
A "general" power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact extensive ability to make decisions on your behalf.
However, it is normally advisable to have several powers of attorney for various activities or choices since this may assist in guaranteeing that your affairs are handled according to your wishes.
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