How do I remove myself from being Mom's power of attorney in Colorado?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am on my mother's general POA in Colorado to assist with financial decisions in the event she becomes incapacitated. My brother is also listed on it in the event I'm not available. I would like to remove myself from her POA due to some problems within the family. How exactly do I do this?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

You know your own heart and mind and the people in your life best, or course. But make sure cooler thoughts prevail.

I do encourage you not to take this step hastily or when fueled by anger. Your mother likely initially selected you for good reason"”and once you have removed yourself, it may be a difficult thing to reverse should your family situation change again and should the problems be resolved or patched up.

As things sit, you have no duty to act unless and until your mother becomes incapacitated. If that happens, the current family feuds may have settled, leaving you open and more willing to act. If not, you can always choose to remove yourself as agent then.

That written, know that the power of attorney itself usually spells out the steps an agent needs to take to resign. Generally, he or she must notify the principal (your mother) in writing, along with any guardian or conservator who has been appointed, any successor agent named in the document (your brother) and all reasonably ascertainable third parties who might be affected by the resignation, such as a primary caretaker.

Community Answers

Joseph l. matthews answered...

No one can be made to act as an attorney-in-fact (the person who is granted power under a power of attorney) if he or she does not want to. The fact that your mother named you to act for her under her POA form does not mean that you have to accept that responsibility. Or, if you did accept the authority and responsibility from her originally, you do not have to continue if you do not want to.

The best way to proceed is to write a letter to your mother, your brother who is listed on the POA as an alternate attorney-in-fact, and any other immediate family members or other caregivers, telling them that you will decline to act under the power of attorney (identified as executed on such-and-such a date). This lets them all know in advance that you will not act under the POA if and when your mother becomes incapacitated, which allows them to prepare for someone else to take on that responsibility. That may prompt your mother to create a new POA document leaving you out of it, or she might simply continue with the current document which names your brother as alternate. The reason to let the other family members know is in case your mother keeps the same document and later becomes incapacitated without telling the other family members that you do not intend to take on the POA responsibilities. You still would not be required to accept those responsibilities if you did not want to, but the other family members might be caught by surprise then, which could make family relations worse.