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How do I get out of being someones durable power of attorney?

Shinnston, WV |

Some 8mths ago my husband and I became his sisters durable power of attorney because she almost died.She went to live in a nurseing home,She has been in the hospital almost a month, Now her sister want's to bring her home to die. We had made arrangements to take care of all her depts threw the nursing home and the hospitalnow that will be up to her sister,so we do not want to be DPOA any longer.

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Attorney answers 2


I am sure this is a difficult situation for you and your family. There are a couple of issues that you bring up in your question which should be addressed. However, first, I must tell you that I am not licensed in West Virginia, and the information I am giving you is simply that, information. It is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney licensed in your home state to give you specific advice regarding this matter.

That said, my first question to you if why do you want to resign? Is there anyone named as a successor or back-up agent if you and your husband resign as his sister's agent? (The agent or "attorney-in-fact" is the name of the position of the person who is given authority under a power of attorney.)

A durable power of attorney is a tool used to make sure that someone can take care of your legal and business affairs when you are no longer able to take care of them for yourself. The valid durable power of attorney may be used to avoid a court appointed guardianship. Among other things, in order to be valid, the durable power of attorney must be signed by the principal (the person giving the authority).

The easiest way to revoke a power of attorney is for the principal (in this case your husband's sister) to revoke it or execute a new power of attorney, if the principal is able to do so. If the principal is not able to do so, then the agent may resign or refuse to act. You could do this in a written statement, and any organization with which you have transacted affairs for the benefit of the principal should be notified in writing that you have resigned as agent. You should consult an attorney licensed in the state where you live to draft a resignation document for you, and properly notify all concerned parties.

By resigning, however, you should be aware that you may be subjecting the principal to a court appointed guardianship. If, for example, there is no successor agent named in the power of attorney, and if the principal is unable to sign a new power of attorney, then there is nobody who may legally transact the principal's affairs after the agent resigns. If an issue arises, such as filing an income tax return, depositing a check or paying a bill, a guardian may need to be appointed by the court.

Further, the authority granted to an agent under a durable power of attorney ceases upon the death of the principal. When your husband's sister passes away, you no longer need to resign because you no longer have authority to act on her behalf.

You should consult a qualified attorney in your home state to fully understand all the details of your particular circumstances. You may want to resign as your sister-in-law's agent because of familial relationships or because you do not feel you can adequately serve. However, you may find that it is better to remain as her agent if the alternative would be more costly.


A power of attorney is an authorization to act on someone else's behalf in a legal or business matter. The grantor may revoke the power of attorney by telling the attorney-in-fact it is revoked.

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