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Can a durable power of attorney be revoked?

One legal document that many people create as part of their estate planning is a durable power of attorney. This legal document allows a person to designate who will be in charge of making health care decisions for them if they for some reason become unable to make such decisions on their own. Thus, making such a document can be an important part of planning for potential future incapacity.

Now, it is possible that, after a person creates a durable power of attorney, a situation change may arise that makes it so the person no longer wants the individual named as agent in the document to be the one medical decision-making authority is given to in the event of incapacity.

There are a few such situation changes that, under Colorado law, will automatically trigger a revocation of a durable power of attorney. For example, if a person formed a durable power of attorney which named their spouse as agent, and then a legal separation, dissolution, divorce or annulment occurs in relation to the marriage of the person and their spouse, the spouse's designation as agent will automatically be revoked.

Now, of course, there are a great many other reasons why a person may no longer approve of their choice of agent in a durable power of attorney document. For such other reasons, is a person just out of luck?

Thankfully, the answer to this question is no. While there are only a few circumstances in which a durable power of attorney is automatically revoked, Colorado law gives very broad revocation abilities to those who form durable powers of attorney. As long as a person is mentally competent, they can perform a revocation of their durable power of attorney document for any reason they want and at any time.

Elder law attorneys can help individuals who wish to revoke or change a durable power of attorney or some other estate planning document with the process of making such a revocation/change.

Source: FindLaw, "Colorado Durable Power of Attorney Laws," Accessed Feb. 26, 2015

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