Ending a Power of Attorney
All of our circumstances change throughout life. For example, people move away or you don’t think they are suitable to be your attorney any longer. As a consequence you may want to stop a Power of Attorney completely or change your attorneys.
How To Bring a Power of Attorney To An End
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a Power of Attorney last ?
Your Power of Attorney will last until your death or until it is revoked in full by you. It can also be brought to an end by a court if you have lost capacity.
The appointment of an attorney will come to an end automatically if you have appointed your spouse or civil partner and you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership.
The appointment of a continuing (financial) attorney will come to an end automatically if the attorney becomes bankrupt.
Can my attorney bring my Power of Attorney to an end ?
An attorney cannot bring your Power of Attorney to an end. However, an attorney can resign. Therefore, if a sole attorney resigns this will have the effect of bringing your Power of Attorney to an end.
Where one attorney resigns and there is another attorney, your Power of Attorney will continue with the remaining attorney. Where this is the case then you may wish to consider making another Power of Attorney to make sure you always have an attorney in place.
How do I revoke a Power of Attorney ?
A Power of Attorney can be revoked in two ways. Firstly, it can be in a separate document (called a revocation). Secondly, it can be revoked when you make a new Power of Attorney and include a clause revoking the previous Power of Attorney.
In either case, the revocation must be accompanied by a Certificate of Capacity and sent to the Office of the Public Guardian. Where you have made a new Power of Attorney, the Public Guardian will charge a free to register the new Power of Attorney.
You can also revoke the appointment of one attorney but leave others, or amend the powers in your Power of Attorney. In either case it must be in writing but you can arrange this directly with the Public Guardian.
Can someone challenge my Power of Attorney ?
Provided you have capacity you have complete control over your Power of Attorney and it cannot be challenged.
However, if you have lost capacity then someone may want to challenge the Power of Attorney. The law prefers to allow people to exercise choice by making a Power of Attorney, so the scope for challenge is limited.
Challenges to a Power of Attorney will only be considered if they are that you were incapable at the time you made the Power of Attorney or that you were acting under pressure.
Someone may also want to challenge your attorney. In these cases a complaint can be made to the Office of the Public Guardian about a financial attorney or to the local authority about a welfare attorney.
Can an attorney resign or refuse to act on my behalf ?
Yes, that’s why the Office of the Public Guardian ask that all of your attorneys sign a form to agree to be your attorney.
This is another reason why it is important to choose your attorneys carefully. You want to make sure they will look after you if you ever need their help.
Can one of my attorneys remove the other ?
No, only you can change your attorneys.
Disagreements between attorneys can make things very difficult. So, this is another reason to choose your attorneys carefully. You must make sure all of your attorneys understand what you want, and that they will work together.
What happens if I appoint my spouse or civil partner as my attorney and we divorce ?
Many people appoint their spouse or civil partner as their attorney. However, if you divorce or end your civil partnership you may not want that person to be your attorney. Therefore, the law says that appointment as your attorney will automatically come to an end when you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership.
What happens to my Power of Attorney when I die ?
Your Power of Attorney will automatically come to an end when you die.
However, the Office of the Public Guardian must keep their records up to date. Therefore your attorney must let the Office of the Public Guardian know when you have died.
What happens if my attorney dies ?
What will happen if your attorney dies depends on how many attorneys you have. If the attorney who dies is your only attorney then your Power of Attorney will come to an end. You should let the Office of the Public Guardian know that you attorney has died.
If you have more than one main attorney, your Power of Attorney will continue with that attorney. You should still let the Office of the Public Guardian know your attorney has died.
If the attorney who has died was your only main attorney but you have a substitute, then your Power of Attorney can continue. Your substitute can take the place of the attorney who has died. Again, you should let the Office of the Public Guardian know. They will contact your substitute attorney to confirm they agree to act as your attorney and issue you with a new certificate for your Power of Attorney.
What happens if I have made a Power of Attorney but a guardian is appointed ?
Sometimes a guardian can be appointed even if you have made a Power of Attorney. This can happen if someone challenges your Power of Attorney in Court or the Public Guardian or local authority asks the Court for a guardian to be appointed.
A guardian can also be appointed where you have made a Power of Attorney but it is does not have enough powers to allow your attorney to take some decisions for your. In this case the appointment of a guardian is unlikely to affect your Power of Attorney as your guardian and attorney will be making different decisions.
Where a guardian is appointed with the same powers as your attorney, then the guardian will take precedence. This means that your attorney will no longer be able to use the Power of Attorney.
What happens if I become bankrupt ?
If you become bankrupt it will not affect your Welfare Power of Attorney. Your attorney can still make decisions about your medical treatment and your care on your behalf.
However, your Continuing Power of Attorney will come to an end. This is because an attorney cannot act where the granter is bankrupt. You or your attorney should let the Office of the Public Guardian know.
What happens if my attorney becomes bankrupt ?
The law does not allow someone who is bankrupt to be a Continuing (financial) attorney. Therefore, if your attorney becomes bankrupt they can no longer deal with your finances.
They can still be your Welfare attorney and make decisions about your medical treatment and care. However, they should let the Office of the Public Guardian know that they are bankrupt.