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Don’t like your power of attorney? Assign a new one

Several years ago, you put together estate planning documents that appointed a power of attorney for your health care decisions. You were good friends at the time, and you felt that they’d be best able to represent you if you couldn’t talk to a medical team on your own.

Now, over time, you’ve drifted apart. You had a few moments where you realized that your wishes might not be respected if they were in charge, so you have decided to change your health care power of attorney.

Making the change is pretty simple, but it does require you to cancel out the existing documents and to fill out new forms. To do this, it is a good idea to talk to your attorney about getting the appropriate legal documents, including any formal revocation paperwork, and filing for a new power of attorney at the same time. 

It is important that the old power of attorney receives information about the revocation. They should receive a copy of the revocation through the mail. You can send it and request a signature, so you can prove that they received the document if necessary.

Finally, you should destroy any copies of the old power of attorney assignment. Your attorney will also get rid of that document, so there is no risk of confusion in the future. 

Assigning a new power of attorney at the same time is a good idea, so that you don’t accidentally find yourself in a position where you need one and have none assigned. If you do assign someone new, follow the same steps and make sure they receive a copy of the assignment.