How Do I Revoke a Power of Attorney?

If you appoint another person(s) to act on your behalf under a power of attorney (PoA), you’re called the ‘donor’ in England and Wales or ‘granter’ in Scotland. The other person(s) is called the ‘attorney(s)’. Their authority to act on your behalf continues until you revoke the PoA. You can use a deed of revocation to revoke the power of attorney.

What’s a deed of revocation?

It’s a legal document signed on behalf of or by the donor. It states that the donor is withdrawing the powers that he/she has granted to another person (the attorney) on a specific date through an earlier power of attorney. Thus, a deed of revocation provides written confirmation that the power of attorney granted by the donor earlier has been revoked.

You can use a deed of revocation to revoke either a general power of attorney (GPA) or an enduring power of attorney (EPA). In case your GPA is registered with the Court of Protection (COP), you (the donor) must apply to the COP to get the revocation of PoA confirmed. When the COP is satisfied that the donor is still mentally capable of acting coherently and has met all the necessary legal steps needed to revoke it, it will confirm the revocation. You can revoke a GPA at any time by using a deed of revocation. But you must ensure your attorney is formally informed of the revocation and provided with notice that he/she is entitled to. Additionally, you must provide a copy of your revocation to any third party (financial institutions, healthcare providers, doctors, etc.) where your power of attorney could have been used. Else, the deed of revocation won’t be effective.

The process of revoking an EPA registered with the COP is the same as a registered GPA.  

To revoke a lasting power of attorney (LPA), you’ve to send a revocation notice to both the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and your attorney(s). In case the LPA has already been registered, the registration will be cancelled by the OPG on receiving the revocation notice, provided it’s satisfied that all the essential legal steps have been taken by the donor to revoke it and the donor is mentally capable of doing so. Then, the OPG will inform the donor and the attorney(s) of the cancellation of the LPA registration.

Circumstances where you may want to revoke a PoA

There could be various reasons for which you want to revoke a power of attorney. These may include:

  • You don’t trust your attorney who’s acting on your behalf anymore
  • Your attorney isn’t carrying out his/her responsibilities properly
  • The PoA is no longer needed as you’re capable of acting on your own behalf
  • You’ve found someone more suited to function as your attorney
  • The purpose of the PoA has been fulfilled and the attorney no longer needs to act on your behalf
  • It’s no longer feasible anymore to have your attorney act on your behalf (because the attorney is no longer a resident of the same jurisdiction as you are)

Why you really need a written revocation of a PoA?

The PoA is an extremely powerful legal document. Using it, your attorney can do almost anything with your assets and belongings (based on the powers you have granted through the PoA) and even with your health and welfare needs (in case it’s the LPA).

The revocation of a PoA won’t be effective against the attorney or any third party until a notice of the revocation has been received by that party. Thus, it’s prudent to have a written document as evidence of your revocation to ensure that no doubt exists about your intention to revoke the power.

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