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Updating power of attorney in estate planning

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Estate Planning |

California estate planning and administration laws recognize a power of attorney designation for a person, known as the agent, to make decisions on behalf of someone else, known as the principal. It frequently becomes necessary as loved ones age and experience mental or physical incapacitation. However, how difficult is it to update a power of attorney once it is in place?

The principal is mentally competent

When there are no issues of mental competence, it is easy for the principal to make any changes they wish. Sometimes, this happens when the designated agent predeceases them or wants to remove themselves from the obligation.

Reasons for making the change

Taking on the management of someone else’s affairs is time-consuming. Depending on the individual’s mental state, it can also be exhausting. The person acting on behalf of the individual may come to the realization that they can no longer carry out the necessary duties. Conversely, another family member may challenge the power of attorney.

Changing the power of attorney

If someone decides to step down voluntarily from the position as agent, they can write a formal resignation letter and copy all the parties who are named in the will. If the individual named several trusted people who might take on the role, it will go to the one next in line.

When there is nobody else listed, the will may give the person relinquishing the power of attorney the authority to pass it on to someone of their choosing. Without this stipulation, and if the individual who made the will is incompetent, an interested third party has to petition the court for guardianship of the principal.