What do I if I want to end or revoke an existing Power of Attorney?
If you have given someone a Power of Attorney, there may be many reasons why you might want to end or revoke it:
You may no longer trust the person that you have appointed as your Attorney, for example, if your ex-spouse is your Attorney, after an acrimonious divorce you may no longer believe he or she has your best interests at heart.
You may have found a more suitable person to be your Attorney, for example, if you have recently married, you may want to appoint your new spouse as your Attorney rather than your brother.
It may be that your Attorney has been abusing the power that you have given them, for example, he or she may have been taking money out of your bank account without your permission, or refusing to follow your instructions.
Maybe your Attorney has moved interstate and it is no longer practical to have him or her as your Attorney.
You can end or revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney at any time provided you are capable of understanding what you are doing.
It is not sufficient to merely destroy the Power of Attorney. Your Attorney may have retained a copy that you are not aware of. Your Attorney could still use it even though you don’t want them to anymore.
There is no specific form to revoke a general power of attorney; but you should put something in writing to making it clear to your Attorney that the Power of Attorney is revoked (a ‘Revocation Notice’). The Revocation Notice should refer to the date of your Power of Attorney and the name of the person you appointed as your Attorney.
The Revocation Notice must be provided to your Attorney. This is important because should you fail to inform your Attorney of the revocation, your Attorney can legally continue to make decisions on your behalf. The Revocation Notice puts it beyond doubt that the Power of Attorney has been revoked.
Your bank and any other companies or other registries where the Power of Attorney has been previously noted, produced or registered, must be provided with a copy of the Revocation Notice in order to notify them that the Attorney has ceased to have any authority to act on your behalf. Keep a list of all the places you sent the Revocation Notice to.
If an enduring Power of Attorney is revoked or if a general Power of Attorney has been deposited with the Lands Titles Office (in SA) or the NSW Land Registry (in NSW), a written revocation of that power should also be registered with those bodies. The relevant form is available from the relevant organisation’s website.
Remember your Attorney may have lodged your Power of Attorney for registration even if you may not have registered it yourself. If you are not sure whether or not your Attorney registered it, it is a good idea to lodge the copy of the revocation. This is to make sure that your Attorney cannot go and register the Power of Attorney later, even though you revoked it.
After revoking the Power of Attorney you should ask for the original and any copies of the Power of Attorney document to be returned to you. These should be destroyed or marked ‘REVOKED’.
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The information contained in this post is current at the date of editing – 19 July 2023.