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When Does a Power of Attorney Become Effective and When Does it Terminate?

In recent posts, considerable time has been spent discussing the importance of a power of attorney. At this point, many of you might be asking several questions. When does a power of attorney become effective? When does it terminate? Can the principal modify the power of attorney?

The important matter to keep in mind here is that you, the principal of the power of attorney, have the power to draft the document as you desire. You decide when it becomes effective by designating in the actual power of attorney document when the agent is to commence making decisions on your behalf. You can select a specified future time, such as specific date, or upon the happening of a specified event, such as the occurrence of a disability or incapacity of the principal.

That leads us to our next question: When does a power of attorney terminate? The principal has the right to terminate or revoke the power of attorney at any time. The power of attorney also terminates automatically upon notice of the principal’s death, or generally upon the filing for divorce when the agent is a spouse. Unless a termination date is stated in the power of attorney, it remains valid until revoked by the principal. 

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