Changing a Power of Attorney: amend or revoke?
It sometimes becomes clear that a person you’ve named as your attorney is no longer the right choice to act in your interests. Luckily, changing a Power of Attorney is possible.
However, the simplest approach is often to revoke your original Power of Attorney and draw up a new one in its place.
Here is everything you need to know about amending an existing Power of Attorney, how to go about it, and when cancelling might be the better choice.
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets a person (the donor) give someone they trust (their attorney) the ability to make important life decisions on their behalf.
This might be a temporary arrangement. In this case, an Ordinary Power of Attorney will run its course as soon as the donor recovers from an illness or returns to the country following an absence.
There is also what’s known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This document comes into effect when a person loses “mental capacity” – the ability to make decisions on their own. It’s called “Lasting” because, under most circumstances, this will be for a prolonged period – perhaps forever.
Because a Power of Attorney, especially Lasting power, covers decisions that directly impact your quality of life (the two types of LPA cover financial and property decisions and healthcare and well-being respectively), it’s vital to choose someone you trust completely.
Unfortunately, sometimes circumstances change and the people you thought would be the best possible choice as your attorney become less of an obvious option.
Can You Amend A Power Of Attorney Document?
Yes, you can amend a Power of Attorney document. However, making big changes – such as removing named attorneys or replacing an existing attorney with another – actually happens as part of the process of revoking a Power of Attorney.
So, for smaller changes, it might be worth talking to your solicitor about amendments. To make changes to your actual named attorneys though, you need to discuss revocation or partial revocation.
Can I Change My Power Of Attorney To Someone Else?
Once you’ve registered your Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian, you cannot change the people listed as your attorneys. You cannot add or remove names.
If you want to give your Power of Attorney to someone else, you need to either:
- Revoke your existing Power of Attorney – there is a specific process to follow for this. It’s fairly simple, requiring you to draw up a document called a Deed of Revocation and send it to the courts for a decision.
- Partially revoke your Power of Attorney – if you want to remove one attorney from an LPA, you can also create a Partial Deed of Revocation.
When Is Amendment Not The Right Choice?
As well as times when you want to remove named attorneys from an LPA, an amendment isn’t the way to proceed when:
- An attorney dies, you’ve only named one, and there is no named reserve.
- You’ve only named one attorney, you want to remove them, and there is no reserve.
- The Power of Attorney document becomes invalid for any reason.
Can I Change Power Of Attorney For Someone Else?
No. The only person who can amend or revoke Power of Attorney is the donor. Even if you have someone’s Power of Attorney (you are someone’s attorney), you cannot choose to give it to somebody else.
If, for example, a close family member has named an attorney you believe is no longer acting in their interests, you need to apply to the Court of Protection (the superior court that oversees matters relating to those the Office of the Public Guardian) for a decision.
How Much Does It Cost To Change Power Of Attorney On The UK?
At the time of writing, it costs around £82 to register an LPA in the UK.
Changing a Power of Attorney – usually best accomplished with the help of a legal expert like a Power of Attorney solicitor – is sometimes possible, but it does cost the same as registering a new one.
For this reason, no matter the changes you want to make, most experts you speak to will probably recommend cancelling your old Power of Attorney and registering a new one in its place.
Want to talk through your specific circumstances with a specialist?
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