Appointing an ‘Attorney’ and Revocation of Power of Attorney

Once you have chosen the most appropriate type of ‘Power of Attorney’ (POA), either a Single Purpose Power of Attorney, General Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney, it is just as critical that you chose your agent or Attorney carefully.

Since a POA can give very broad power to your Attorney, this document can cause a lot of harm if misused. If you do not have a trusted family member or close friend, consider appointing a professional Attorney,

such as a lawyer or an accountant. There are some restrictions on who can act as your Attorney, and your lawyer or notary can advise you when you are preparing your Power of Attorney.

If you appoint more than one person to act as your Attorney, either in the same document or in separate documents, consider if your Attorneys should act unanimously or by majority decision. Some people opt to name a primary Attorney, and set restrictions for the alternate or secondary Attorneys.

Before naming your Attorney, discuss this obligation with the individual or individuals. Granting ‘Power of Attorney’ to someone (and even delivering the written document to them) does not mean that this person has to accept the obligation of acting as your Attorney if they don’t want to. The Attorney does not have to take any specific steps to say “no,” or to later decline to act – if they no longer wish to be your Attorney.

If you ever want to terminate the appointment of the Attorney, you can provide a Revocation of Power of Attorney to your agent, and the various institutions that may have received a copy of the Power of Attorneys to advise them of the change.

There are factors that may automatically terminate the power granted, including if your Attorney becomes bankrupt or is convicted of an offence.

If you decide not to name an Attorney and experience a loss of capacity, the Court may appoint a “Committee” of one or more people to look after your financial and / or legal matters affairs. Committeeship is much more expensive than making an Enduring Power of Attorney. 

Finally, some people are under the false impression that the Power of Attorney will allow their Attorney to deal with healthcare and issues pertaining to medical needs. The Power of Attorney governs only financial and legal matters. 

In order for your agent to assist in your medical well-being, you will need to provide them with a “Representation Agreement (section 9)”, however; should a conflict arise between your Enduring Power of Attorney and your Representation Agreement, the provisions of your Enduring Power of Attorney will prevail.