Can a Caregiver Resign Power Of Attorney Responsibilities?

What Can You Do If You No Longer Want To Be POA?

One of the main reasons that elderly parents sign a power of attorney or POA, is to allow a primary family caregiver authority to make financial decisions on their behalf. A Durable Power of Attorney continues even though the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. Therefore, the agent appointed in a power of attorney can continue to take care of the principal’s financial matters without court intervention.

Why Would Someone Want to Give Up Being a POA for a Family Member?

Acting as a person’s POA is a serious legal responsibility. A primary family caregiver might not understand the responsibility and fiduciary duty of acting as an agent for an elderly family member. Should the responsibilities of being POA be too overwhelming, there should be no shame or guilt. It is better to take action sooner rather than later, even when a person changes their mind about taking on this role after their family member signs the document. 

Other reasons why a POA may want to give up being an agent for an elderly parent or other family member include:

  • They move to a new home that is too far away to manage their loved one’s financial affairs effectively
  • The person becomes a new parent or has family responsibilities that do not leave them sufficient time to manage the principal’s affairs
  • The principal becomes emotionally or physically abusive, making it impossible to continue acting as an agent
  • The person obtains a new job that requires substantially more work hours and/or travel, which makes it impossible to devote sufficient time to the responsibilities of a power of attorney
  • The POA becomes ill or is injured and no longer has the physical capability of serving as the principal’s agent

Whatever the reason for resigning as a power of attorney, it is essential to consider all factors to ensure that your elderly parents do not become vulnerable to elderly financial abuse or senior fraud scams. Also, your elderly loved ones need someone they can trust to assist them in managing their finances. 

What Are the Consequences of Resigning as a POA?

Before resigning as a power of attorney for your parents or other elderly family members, consider these questions:

  • Do your parents or family members have the ability to manage their money without assistance?
  • Is there another trusted family member to serve in this crucial financial role?
  • Do you trust your siblings or other family members to make sound financial decisions?
  • How can you protect your elderly parents and other seniors from elder fraud and financial scams?

Before you resign as an agent under a power of attorney, you need to ensure there is another person in place to handle the principal’s financial affairs, especially if your parent or other elderly person is incapable of handling their finances. If you resign without a replacement POA, the senior has no one to manage their finances, which could lead to significant financial problems.

Can You Transfer Your Responsibility as a Power of Attorney?

As the agent, you cannot transfer your responsibility as a POA to another person. The only person who can name another agent is the principal. However, the principal must be competent to sign another power of attorney.

How to Resign as a Power of Attorney

State laws may differ slightly about how to change a power of attorney. Therefore, it is always best to seek legal advice when drafting legal documents.

Generally, you must provide a written resignation to the principal and to all other parties entitled to receive notice. In addition, you may need to file a copy of the resignation with any government office where the Power of Attorney is filed. The principal can revoke the POA in writing and name another agent by signing a new POA document.

Furthermore, if the POA names successor agents, the new agent may take over when the primary agent resigns. However, if there is not a successor agent and the principal is not competent, the family members must petition the court to appoint a conservator and/or guardian.

The downside of a court-appointed conservator or guardian is court oversight. For example, most courts require annual reports. Sometimes, the conservator or guardian may require approval for some financial transactions.

When Does a Power of Attorney Cease?

Unless the agent resigns, the principal revokes the power of attorney, or the court issues an order, the power of attorney for your elderly parent ends when your parent dies. The same is true if you are the primary family caregiver and power of attorney for another senior relative.

A power of attorney ceases at death. Therefore, ensuring that your loved ones have an estate plan in place now is essential. If your parents do not have a Will and other estate documents before they lose mental capacity, handling their estate could be more difficult.

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