Powers of attorney are an important part of many estate plans in Wisconsin. They can be designed to fit the needs of the client, but there are situations in which the person who executed the document will want to terminate it. Generally speaking, there are three ways a power of attorney terminates. The first is that it will terminate on the date specified in the document. Durable powers of attorney are often designed to last indefinitely, though, and many powers of attorney do not include termination dates.
The second way in which a power of attorney might end is on the death of the principal. If the power of attorney does not include a date of termination, it will usually terminate when the principal dies, except that the attorney-in-fact might be authorized to make final arrangements, request an autopsy or make anatomical gifts for the principal.
The third way to terminate a power of attorney is with a written revocation. If the principal signs a written revocation of the power of attorney, the power of attorney terminates. The revocation becomes effective when the attorney-in-fact is actually notified of it.
The principal of a power of attorney can ensure revocation by sending a written notice by certified mail with return receipt requested. It’s also a good idea to notify the attorney-in-fact by phone, text or email. In some cases, the principal should send copies of the revocation letter to banks and other places where the attorney-in-fact is likely to try to use the power of attorney.
People who have questions about the operation or termination of a power of attorney might want to schedule a meeting with a lawyer. A professional with experience in estate planning law may be able to help by examining existing documents or drafting a power of attorney to fit the client’s needs and goals. A lawyer might also draft a revocation letter on behalf of a principal who wants to terminate a power of attorney.