How do I discontinue being POA without having someone to take over?

My mother is POA and payee for her cousin
that lives in San Antonio my mom lives in
Houston. She is wanting to discontinue being
both because it has become too much to
handle. No one else in the family is willing to
take over the responsibilities so my mom is
trying to find a way to get someone from the
state to take over because she no longer can
do this.

Asked on June 20, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Being an attorney in fact or agent (that's the term for the person given power by a POA) is voluntary: just because you have the power does NOT mean you have to use. So your mother can't be made to do anything in this regard. She can also refuse to be payee by notifying the institutions or agencies (e.g. social security) making payment that she is no longer willing to be payee. She should send your cousin a letter stating that she is now refusing to act as pay or agent; send anyone sending payments to her a notice that she will no longer act as payee and they need to send the payments to the cousing (they may want your mother to fill out certain paperwork or forms); and also send anyone who has been contacting her as agent or attorney in fact a letter that she is no longer doing this.
You can't someone from the state to take over, however, unless the cousin is not mentally competent. If he is not competent, then the courts could appoint a legal guardian for the cousin, but there's no way for your mother, as his/her cousin, to do this  without bringing a legal action for this to be done, which she may not want to be involved in. Your mother may need to simply stop acting as agent and payee, then allow some other family to step up or, if none do, wait to see if any creditors come after the cousing, at which point, if he or she is incompetent, the court might on its own recourse order a guardian be appointed.

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