If you make a power of attorney, naming someone to take care of financial and legal matters for you, you may decide you want to end it. Learn your rights and options for ending a power of attorney.
You can end a power of attorney
If you make a power of attorney, you may end (“revoke”) it at any time as long as you are capable. The law presumes you are capable unless it is shown that you are not.
You must put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a Notice of Revocation.
You must give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Revocation to each attorney appointed in your power of attorney.
The revocation takes effect when it is given to everyone required. You can also list a specific future date in the Notice of Revocation when it will take effect.
You can also cancel a power of attorney by saying so in a new power of attorney replacing it.
A new power of attorney does not cancel the old one
More than one power of attorney can be in effect at the same time. If you want to be sure you have only one power of attorney in effect, when you make a new power of attorney, write at the beginning:
“I revoke any and all powers of attorney I have previously made.”
What you can do if someone misuses your power of attorney
Misusing a power of attorney is a crime. If your attorney abuses his or her power, end the power of attorney immediately and then seek legal advice. You may be able to sue your attorney to get back any money or property that has been taken.
If you are incapable and cannot revoke your power of attorney, you or someone else can call the Public Guardian and Trustee and report the situation. They will investigate.
If your attorney refuses to act or decides to quit
If the attorney you appointed in a power of attorney wants to quit, they must put their decision in writing. The written decision is called a Notice of Resignation.
They must give the written Notice of Resignation to you as the person who appointed them and to any other attorneys named in the power of attorney.
If the adult is incapable of making decisions at the time an attorney is resigning, the attorney must also give the Notice of Resignation to a spouse, near relative, or close friend of the adult.
If your attorney resigns, you need to notify any organizations, companies or individuals that the attorney deals with, and then you will need to make a new power of attorney.
Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry provides detailed procedures for resigning as an attorney, including a sample Notice of Resignation.
Step 1. Put your decision in writing
To end a power of attorney you have made, put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a Notice of Revocation. You can use wording like this:
I, _____________ [your name], revoke the power of attorney that I made on ___________ [date power of attorney was signed] that appointed the following people _____________ [name of your attorney(s)] as my attorney.
Sign and date the Notice of Revocation.
Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry provides detailed procedures for revoking a power of attorney, including a sample Notice of Revocation.
Step 2. Give a copy of the revocation to your attorney(s)
Give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Revocation to each attorney appointed in your power of attorney. It is a good idea to also give it to any alternate attorneys.
There is no specific way you are required to deliver the notice. You may wish to send it by registered mail to the person’s last known address, to be sure that they receive it.
Step 3. Give a copy of the revocation to anyone else you gave the power of attorney
If you gave a copy of the power of attorney to a bank or other financial service, send them a copy of the Notice of Revocation.
If you filed your power of attorney with the Land Title Office, you must also file your revocation with them.
Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry provides detailed information and answers questions about enduring powers of attorney, representation agreements, and advance directives.
The Alzheimer Society of BC provides information and support to families, individuals, and caregivers to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
The Public Guardian and Trustee of BC is a public body that can investigate the misuse of a power of attorney where the adult has become mentally incapable. It also provides financial management and legal decision-making for vulnerable adults.