When to change your power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a nominated party the ability to act on another person’s behalf. For the most part, a power of attorney allows someone to make decisions relating to healthcare and financial and property affairs.

Acting in such a capacity is a big responsibility, and the person that you had originally chosen may no longer be up to the job. When should you change your power of attorney?

When power is abused

A power of attorney document puts the agent in a position of power. They have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the principal. For example, if they are tasked with making healthcare decisions, they must do so with the best interests of the principal in mind.

In terms of financial decisions, the agent must never act through the motivation of personal profit. All financial decisions must be made in the best interests of the principal. If an agent abuses their position of power, then they breach their fiduciary duties. Abusing powers when in a position of trust is a valid reason to change the power of attorney.

When the agent is no longer fit

It is important that the designated agent in a power of attorney document has the physical and mental capacity to carry out the role effectively. They must also be willing to take on the responsibility.

If an agent is not accepting of the responsibility, then someone else may need to be nominated. If they are elderly, vulnerable or suffer from physical and mental health conditions, then a change may also be necessary.

Changing your power of attorney generally involves removing an agent from the role and creating a new document. Before embarking on any estate planning changes, it may benefit you to seek legal guidance.