By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Friday, April 21, 2017.
At some point during the majority of marriages, when things are sunny and bright, and love is in the air, spouses will frequently execute a written Power of Attorney, giving the other spouse the legal authority to act on behalf of each other. Such action commonly includes the ability to buy and sell real estate; to incur and pay debt; to deal with financial issues; and, to make medical or health-related decisions.
Obviously, the granting of a Power of Attorney to another is founded upon a high level of trust in that person’s maturity, intellect, honesty and sense of propriety. When a marriage is “solid,” and based upon mutual love and respect between the spouses, this generally presents no problem at all; and, is often both convenient and necessary. However, when the foundation of that marriage begins to weaken, or the trustworthiness of one or the other spouse is called into question; or, the continued viability of the marriage itself becomes an issue, one should re-evaluate the prudence of any outstanding Power of Attorney.
If parties separate from each other, and are proceeding toward a divorce, the last thing they want is for the other spouse to retain the ability to exercise rights under a long-forgotten Power of Attorney. In other words, you certainly do NOT want the soon-to-be-ex using a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf, whether on financial issues, health matters, property issues or otherwise.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that, if your marriage appears to be “on the rocks,” protect yourself by sending/delivering to your spouse a written statement along the following lines (and be sure to keep a copy!):
REVOCATION OF POWER OF ATTORNEY
To: ___________________ Date: __________________
You are hereby put on notice that any Power of Attorney that I may have previously granted to you, is hereby REVOKED and RESCINDED in its entirety, as is any legal authority for you to act as my agent under the same.
If you have questions about a Power of Attorney, or your marital situation in general, call one of the attorneys at Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C. for a complimentary, 30-minute telephone consultation at (703) 591-7475.