A Power of Attorney (POA) or a letter of Attorney is a legal document which is used by a Grantor/ Principal (the person who creates the POA) to bestow special powers to an Attorney, enabling the Attorney to act on behalf of the Grantor in specific situations. It is a very powerful document and can give the Attorney powers to conduct legal, financial or real estate transactions on behalf of the Grantor. But it is also important to know how to put an end to the power transferred to an agent, that is, how to terminate the Power of Attorney.
Most POA documents mention a duration clause. In most cases POAs are drafted for a specific transaction which the Grantor is indisposed to conduct himself. In such scenarios, the Attorney’s powers end when the transaction comes to an end. However, there are three other cases which could lead to a termination/cancellation of the Power of Attorney document. They are-
- Death of the Principal/Grantor (valid unless the Power of Attorney was of a Durable nature)
- Issual of a Revocation of Power of Attorney document
- Act for which the POA was created has come to an end. Eg property sale, financial transactions etc
Top Reasons Behind Termination/Cancellation Of Power Of Attorney
The reasons could be many, ranging from personal choice to plain betrayal. However, some of the common reasons which call for a POA cancellation are as follows-
- The POA is no longer necessary. If it was drafted to carry out a specific transactions like property sale or purchase, the POA becomes unnecessary once the transaction is over.
- The Principal has lost trust in the Attorney. If for some reason, the Grantor feels that the appointed Attorney is no longer trustworthy, then he/she can cancel the POA immediately. In fact, it is recommended that he/she does so.
- The Grantor has found a more suitable candidate to act on his/her behalf. In such a scenario, the POA issued to the former candidate can be cancelled and a fresh POA shall be issued to the new candidate.
- The appointed Attorney could be indisposed and no longer available to perform his duties.
Canceling The Power Of Attorney
Like we stated before, unless what you have issued is a Durable Power of Attorney, death or mental incompetence of the Grantor would lead to immediate cancellation of the POA. In case a Durable POA was issued, the Attorney will continue to retain his powers unless another document is issued stating otherwise.
However, the ideal way to cancel a Power of Attorney is by creating another legal document called the Revocation of Power of Attorney. This document is a legal notice indicating that whatever powers were bestowed on a previously appointed Attorney stands cancelled. It is essentially a written confirmation that the Grantor has revoked all powers issued through a POA issued previously.
Why Should I Create A Written Revocation?
A Power of Attorney is a very powerful document which could be misused if it falls into the hands of the wrong person. Unless your POA document has a termination clause, it is wise to create a written Revocation should you wish to cancel it. A revocation of power is as strong as delegation.
Following are the consequences of not cancelling a POA-
- The Attorney can continue to act on your behalf and carry out acts which are not in your best interests.
- If shrewd enough, the Attorney can usurp your wealth and properties.
- If the POA issued was of durable nature, the Attorney can greatly exploit his powers as he continues to retain that power despite Grantor’s incompetence.
When Can I Revoke A Previously Issued Power Of Attorney?
There is no limitation on when you can revoke a POA. The Grantor is free to revoke the power as and when he sees fit. If you feel that you may become incompetent in the near future or if you feel death is imminent, it is wise to revoke the POA, unless the POA previously issued was of a Durable nature and you want it to remain.
The Grantor is under no obligation to provide any explanation as to why you chose to revoke the powers.
Making A Revocation Legally Valid And Enforceable
It is fairly simple to make a legally valid Revocation of Power of Attorney. All you need to do is carry out the following steps-
- Draft a deed for Revocation of Power of Attorney.
- If the Power of Attorney you wish to revoke was notarized or registered, you will need to do the same for the Revocation document as well.
- Send a copy to the Attorney. Keep in mind the revocation is effective if it is received by the Attorney. Sending it via registered post would be ideal.
- Send a copy of the Revocation of Power of Attorney to banks/institutions where the Attorney may have acted on your behalf.
- Send a copy to where the POA was registered. Eg deed registry, land titles office etc.
- Preserve a copy for yourself in a safe place.
Frequently Asked Question
1. I have issued a Power of Attorney to my relative to carry out some real estate transactions on my behalf. However, I never included a termination clause in the document. Of late my health has been deteriorating and I am worried that I may be incapacitated soon. Should I revoke my POA?
It is strongly recommended that you either revoke the POA or you issue a fresh Durable POA if you want the same Attorney to continue acting on your behalf. Keep in mind that Durable Power of Attorney allows the Attorney to retain his powers even after the Grantor becomes incompetent or even dead.
Create A Revocation Of Power Of Attorney Online
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