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How to cancel a power of attorney

Information about how to end or revoke or cancel a power of attorney.

Revocation by the principal

The principal can change or cancel a power of attorney by filling out a revocation form. The principal may do this if they would like to change the attorney or if they want to change the powers that they give.

The principal can also revoke an old enduring power of attorney or enduring power of guardianship document made before 1 September 2015 using a current revocation forms.

The principal must have capacity to revoke this power.

The principal must also take reasonable steps to let the attorney(s) know that they have revoked the power.

Note: The process of revoking a general non-enduring power of attorney is slightly different. See Revoking a general non-enduring power of attorney.

See What is capacity? and Forms.

Fill out a revocation form

The revocation forms are available on the Office of the Public Advocate site. There is also a resignation form. These forms are interactive. That is, they can be filled out online. They will need to be printed before they are signed.

See Forms.

The form will need to be witnessed by 2 adults who are present when the principal signs. At least one of these witnesses has to be qualified to witness an affidavit or a medical practitioner.

The witness cannot be a care worker for the principal, a relative, or an attorney under the power that is being revoked.

See ss. 46, 48, 49—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Making a new power of attorney

If a new power of attorney document is signed, the old one is automatically revoked unless the principal specifies that they do not want this to happen. If the principal does not want the first power revoked (and specifies this in the later document) only the parts of the older document that are inconsistent with the new one will be revoked.

See s. 55—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Destroy the document and all copies

If the power of attorney document and all existing copies are destroyed, the powers are revoked.

Who needs to know about the revocation

The principal has to make reasonable steps to tell the people who have accepted the responsibility if they revoke the power. The principal should also let any relevant organisations know (such as their bank).

If the principal no longer has capacity

The power of attorney document can still be revoked, but the matter will have to be decided at the Guardianship List of VCAT. The Tribunal (VCAT) cannot do this when a person still has capacity.

If the principal dies

The power of attorney is automatically revoked if the donor dies.

See s. 51—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If an attorney dies or loses capacity

If an attorney dies, the power of attorney document will be revoked to the extent that the document gave powers to that attorney. If there are others that have been appointed as alternative attorneys or if the powers were given to more than one attorney, the attorney document will still be valid.

If an attorney loses capacity to make the decisions that they have been empowered to make on behalf of the principal. the power is revoked to the extent that power is given to the attorney.

See s. 52, 53—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Other reasons for revocation of an attorney

The powers that an attorney has under a power of attorney document will be revoked if that person:

  • becomes insolvent
  • starts to act as a care worker, health provider or accommodation provider for the principal, or
  • is convicted or found guilty of an offence involving dishonesty.

If the attorney is a trustee company and that company is wound up or ceases to be registered, the power of attorney will also be revoked to the extent that the power applies to that trustee company.

See s. 54—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If the power of attorney was restricted

Where the power of attorney document was restricted to a particular date or event, the power will end as soon as that period or event has passed.

If an attorney resigns

If principal has capacity

An attorney or alternative attorney may resign their responsibility as an attorney at any time while the principal has capacity. There is a prescribed form for resigning.

If an attorney resigns, they must take reasonable steps to inform the principal and any other attorneys appointed under that power.

See s. 56—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If principal no longer has capacity

If an attorney wants to resign and the principal no longer has decision-making capacity, they can still resign if there is another attorney who has power for the matter (including an alternative attorney). If no other attorney has been appointed (or if the person is the last remaining attorney), the attorney will need permission from VCAT or from the Supreme Court.

If an attorney resigns they have to take reasonable steps to let any other attorneys know.

See ss. 59, 60—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Revocation by VCAT

Once a person has lost capacity any person with an interest in the principal's welfare can apply to VCAT to have the enduring power of attorney revoked if they are worried about the attorney's actions.

If VCAT is satisfied that the attorney is not complying with their duties or other provisions under the Act they can revoke the power of attorney. They will only be able to do this if the principal has lost capacity to make another power of attorney document.

See s. 120(1)(a)and (2) and generally Part 8—Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Revoking a general non-enduring power of attorney

The process for revoking a non-enduring power of attorney is a little simpler. The principal needs to fill out the form, which asks for the date that the power was drafted and also the name(s) of the attorney(s) that were appointed.

This form must be witnessed by one person. Copies of the revoking form should, if possible, be given to all attorneys and any alternative attorneys. Ask the attorneys, whose power is revoked, to return the general non-enduring power of attorney documents.

To access the revocation form, see Forms.

More information

Legislation

Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)

  • Part 5—Enduring powers of attorney—ending
    • s. 46—how should an instrument of revocation be executed?
    • s. 48—who can witness the signing of the instrument of revocation
    • s. 49—certification of witness to signing instrument of revocation
    • s. 50—notification of revocation
    • s. 51—death of the principal
    • s. 52—death of attorney
    • s. 53—if attorney loses capacity
    • s. 54—revocation of appointment and notification of revocation, winding up, etc.
    • s. 56—resignation when principal still has capacity
    • s. 59—resignation when principal no longer has capacity
  • Part 8—VCAT jurisdiction
    • s. 116—matters about which VCAT may make an order
    • s. 120—nature of VCAT orders

See Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Reference

Office of the Public Advocate (OPA)

See Office of the Public Advocate (OPA).

Updated