Who Can Override a Power of Attorney?

who can override power of attorney

One of the most important estate planning tools at your disposal is the Power of Attorney (POA). This legal document allows a person or persons to act on your behalf in several situations, such as making financial, healthcare, and property management decisions.

POAs can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that someone will handle your affairs according to your wishes when you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.

However, with great power comes great responsibility, meaning before executing POAs, you should understand who can override them and under what circumstances the courts can remove agents from their POA positions.

Principal’s Right to Override POA: You Are Always in Control

One of the most important things to understand about the POA is that, as the principal, you always have the right to override or revoke a power of attorney at any time as long as you are of sound mind.

This rule means that if you change your mind about the agent you have appointed, no longer trust them, or want to update your POA to reflect your current wishes, you have the power to do so.

You will need to take the following steps to override a New Jersey POA:

  1. Notify your current agent in writing that you are revoking their authority. You should clearly state your intent to revoke the POA and sign and date the written notice.
  2. File a copy of the revocation with relevant institutions or individuals relying on the POA, such as banks, healthcare providers, or government agencies. This notice ensures everyone knows about the change in your agent’s authority.
  3. If you wish to appoint a new agent, you must create a new POA document that clearly identifies the new agent and their powers. Be sure to work with an estate planning attorney when drafting this new POA to ensure it meets all legal requirements and accurately reflects your wishes.

You should also note that if a doctor or the courts have declared you incapacitated, you may no longer have the legal capacity to revoke the POA on your own. In such cases, you may need court intervention to protect your interests, which we discuss in more detail in the next section.

The Court’s Ability to Override POA: When Intervention is Necessary

While the principal can override their Power of Attorney document when the principal is of sound mind, there are situations in which a court may need to step in and take action.

This intervention typically occurs when the principal has become incapacitated, and there are concerns that the agent is not acting in the principal’s best interest or is abusing his or her authority.

Some common reasons why a court may override a Power of Attorney include:

  • Evidence Of Abuse, Neglect, Or Exploitation

If there are signs that an agent is physically, emotionally, or financially abusing the principal or is neglecting POA duties, the court may intervene to protect the principal’s rights.

  • Failure To Follow The Principal’s Wishes

Courts may step in to ensure agents respect the principal’s intentions when agents make decisions that go against the principal’s known desires or values.

  • Conflicts of Interest

The courts may remove agents and appoint new ones when fiduciaries make decisions that benefit themselves rather than the principal or if significant conflicts of interest compromise their ability to act impartially.

Who Can Bring Action

In New Jersey, anyone interested in the principal’s welfare can petition the court to override a Power of Attorney. This intervention may include family members, friends, healthcare providers, or even Adult Protective Services if they suspect abuse or neglect.

Fiduciary Removal Process

Removing and replacing an agent involves filing a petition with the court, presenting evidence to support the claims, and attending a hearing where a judge will review the case and make a determination.

If the court finds that the agent is not acting in the principal’s best interest or is causing harm, they may terminate the agent’s authority and appoint a new agent or guardian to manage the principal’s affairs. This safeguard is essential and helps protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation.

Overriding POA in New Jersey: Working With a Professional

It helps to know the state’s specific laws and requirements when overriding a New Jersey Power of Attorney.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney well-versed in New Jersey’s probate and trust codes can ensure you get the job done correctly and that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

The experienced estate planning attorneys at The Simone Law Firm help New Jersey residents achieve their goals and protect their loved ones.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you create a Power of Attorney that meets your unique needs or remove an agent from his or her position.

We can also help you take action to protect a loved one from abuse or misconduct by assigning alternate agents. Contact us today and take the first step toward securing your future and protecting your legacy.

Author Bio

michael s. simone, esq.

Michael Simone is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Simone Law Firm, an estate planning law firm in Cinnaminson, NJ. With more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense, he has represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, probate, real estate, and business law.

Michael received his Juris Doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law and is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association.

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