Can my brother force me into giving power of attorney to him?
The person who has these powers is called an agent or attorney-in-fact. The person designated to be the agent assumes certain responsibilities, including acting in the principal's best interest and following the principal's directions. Agents are "fiduciaries," which means that the agent must act with the highest degree of good faith in behalf of their principals. Although an agent is supposed to make decisions in the principal's best interest and to use the principal's money and other assets only for the principal's benefit, the agent nevertheless has great freedom to act as he or she pleases. Principals usually grant their agents fairly broad powers to manage their finances and to conduct financial transactions in their behalf. Even so, principals can grant their agents as much or as little authority as they think reasonable.
Laws on amendments to a power of attorney vary by state and power of attorney. For example, in some states, a durable power of attorney may be changed only by executing a new durable power of attorney or executing an amendment with the same formalities as the original power of attorney. A power of attorney can generally be revoked by the principal at any time, as long as he or she is competent. To revoke a power of attorney, the principal must do so in writing. The revocation of a power of attorney is used to terminate the authority granted to the principal's attorney-in-fact/agent. This means that the attorney-in-fact/agent no longer has the authorization to act on behalf of the principal. Typically in order to revoke the power of attorney, the principal merely needs to prepare a simple statement containing the principal's name and date; the principal's claim to be of sound mind; the principal's explicit desire to revoke the durable power of attorney; the date the original durable power of attorney was executed; the name of the principal's agent or agents; and the principal's signature. It is important to distribute copies of this revocation statement to the agent and to any institutions and agencies, such as banks and hospitals, that may have had notice of the principal's power of attorney. If the power of attorney is on file with a county records department, the statement revoking the power of attorney should be filed in the same place. After the durable power of attorney is revoked, the principal can 1) execute a new power of attorney naming someone else as agent to handle the principal's affairs; or 2) handle the affairs independently.
An agent or attorney-in-fact may also resign by giving notice to the principal and recording the notice wherever the power of attorney was recorded (such as the county land records).
The following are New York statutes:
§ 5-1511 Gen. Oblig. Termination or revocation of power of attorney;
[fn*] NB Effective September 1, 2009
1. A power of attorney terminates when:
(a) the principal dies;
(b) the principal becomes incapacitated, if the power of attorney is not
(c) the principal revokes the power of attorney;
(d) the principal revokes the agent's authority and there is no co-agent
or successor agent, or no co-agent or successor agent who is willing or
able to serve;
(e) the agent dies, becomes incapacitated or resigns and there is no
co-agent or successor agent or no co-agent or successor agent who is
willing or able to serve;
(f) the authority of the agent terminates and there is no co-agent or
successor agent or no co-agent or successor agent who is willing or able to
(g) the purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished; or
(h) a court order revokes the power of attorney as provided in
section 5-1510 of this title or in section 81.29 of the mental hygiene law.
2. An agent's authority terminates when:
(a) the principal revokes the agent's authority;
(b) the agent dies, becomes incapacitated or resigns;
(c) the agent's marriage to the principal is terminated by divorce,
annulment or declaration of nullity, unless the power of attorney expressly
provides otherwise. If the authority of an agent is revoked solely by this
subdivision, it shall be revived by the principal's remarriage to the
former spouse; or
(d) the power of attorney terminates.
3. A principal may revoke a power of attorney;
(a) in accordance with the terms of the power of attorney;
(b) by delivering a written, signed and dated revocation of the power of
attorney as follows:
(1) to the agent, and the agent must comply with the principal's
revocation notwithstanding the actual or perceived incapacity of the
principal unless the principal is subject to a guardianship under
article eighty-one of the mental hygiene law; and
(2) to any third party that the principal has reason to believe has
received, retained or acted upon, the power of attorney.
4. Where the power of attorney has been recorded pursuant to section two
hundred ninety-four of the real property law, the principal shall also
record a written revocation pursuant to section three hundred twenty-six of
the real property law. Notwithstanding the recording of a revocation, a
third party must have actual notice of the revocation for the revocation to
5. Termination of an agent's authority or of the power of attorney is not
effective as to any third party who has not received actual notice of the
termination and acts in good faith under the power of attorney. Any action
so taken, unless otherwise invalid or unenforceable, shall bind the
principal and the principal's successors in interest. A financial
institution is deemed to have actual notice after it has had a reasonable
opportunity to act on a written notice of the revocation or termination
following receipt of the same at its office where an account is located.
6. Unless the principal expressly provides otherwise, the execution of a
power of attorney revokes any and all prior powers of attorney executed by
§ 326 Real Prop. Revocation to be recorded.
A power of attorney or other instrument, recorded pursuant to this
article, is not deemed revoked by any act of the party by whom it was
executed, unless the instrument containing such revocation is also recorded
in the same office in which the instrument containing the power was