Ending a Power of Attorney

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What do I need to know about signing the documents?

You must sign the enduring power of attorney and have the signing witnessed. You need only one witness if you use a notary public or a lawyer. Any attorney appointed after September 1, 2011, must also sign the enduring power of attorney document in front of witnesses before they can act. You and your attorney do not have to sign at the same time.

How can I resign as power of attorney?

If you want to resign, you must put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a Notice of Resignation. You must give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Resignation to the person who appointed you and any other attorneys.

If the adult is incapable, you must also give the Notice of Resignation to the adult’s spouse, near relative or close friend.

Can I cancel an enduring power of attorney?

You can end your enduring power of attorney as long as you are capable. You must put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a Notice of Revocation. You must give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Revocation to your attorney, or attorneys.

You can find “Procedures to Cancel or revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney” at: www.nidus.ca/pdFs/nidus_info_Revoke_epA.pdf.

Nidus has information about resignation. You can find “Procedures for Resigning as an Attorney”: www.nidus.ca/PDFs/Nidus_Info_Resign_Attorney.pdf.

How do I cancel a power of attorney?

You can revoke your power of attorney at anytime. Notify your attorney in writing.

Example: “I, (your name), cancel the Power of Attorney I granted to (name of

your attorney).Date:________ Signature: ____________

Send a copy of the notice to any organizations,companies or individuals your attorney deals with.

Does a new power of attorney cancel the old one?

No. More than one power of attorney can be in effect at the same time. If you want to be sure you have only one power of attorney in effect, when you make a new power of attorney, write at the beginning: “I revoke any and all powers of attorney I have previously made.”

Can my attorney decide to quit?

Yes. Your attorney must tell you, preferably in writing, that he or she does not wish to continue. When that happens, you need to notify any organizations, companies or individuals that the attorney deals with, and then you will need to make a new power of attorney.

Can my attorney be someone who lives in another province?

Yes. The person you name as your attorney does not have to live in BC.

Do I have to pay my attorney?

Your attorney is entitled to be paid back for any out-of-pocket expenses. If you want to pay your attorney a fee, you must write this in the document. If a trust company or the Public Guardian and Trustee is your attorney, they will ask you to sign an agreement that says they can charge fees.

Do I need professional help?

It’s best to get some professional help, especially if you have a complicated or unusual situation. According to ICBC and the motor vehicle branch, your power of attorney must be notarized if you want your attorney to have the power to renew the insurance or sell your vehicle (if you can’t do it yourself). This means a lawyer or notary public puts his or her seal on the document when you make it, to confirm that you and the witness signed it in front of him or her.

If you go to a lawyer or notary public, find out how much they will charge you. Phone around and compare prices. See Where to Get Help in this wikibook for help finding a legal professional.

What can I do to prevent misuse of my power of attorney?

Before you make a power of attorney you may want to talk to a friend, family member, community advocate, or legal professional. You can also insist that your attorney get legal advice about his or her responsibilities.

Example: attorneys must keep accurate records, and attorneys must not take a personal benefit from the person’s assets.

Be sure you choose someone you trust. If possible, name more than one person. Talk to these people before you appoint them and make sure they understand what you expect from them, and when you expect them to act.

Remember that a power of attorney takes effect as soon as it is signed, but it does not have to be used until you need help. You may want to give the power of attorney document to someone else you trust, and tell him or her when to give it to the attorney.

You can put limits on the power you give your attorney. You can require the attorney to keep records of your finances and show you those records regularly. You should also review your bank statements.

Misusing a power of attorney is a crime. If your attorney abuses his or her power, cancel the power of attorney immediately and then get legal advice. You may be able to sue your attorney to get back any money or property that has been taken.

If you are incapable and cannot cancel your power of attorney, you or someone else can call the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee and report the situation. They will investigate.

I made a power of attorney ten years ago. Is it still good?

Yes. However, you should check it over to make sure that it will do what you want and the information is accurate. You may decide to make a new one.

It’s a good idea to review all your financial affairs (including your Will) every two or three years. Addresses change, and so do people’s lives. Stay up to date.

What about powers of attorney made in another province or country?

Each province in Canada has its own laws and procedures for powers of attorney. This booklet applies to residents of BC who have finances and property in BC. For information about powers of attorney in another province or country, consult a legal professional. You may also want to read a book called “Power of Attorney” by Self Counsel Press, which is sold at stationery and bookstores, many libraries, or a public legal education and information service provider in your province.

If I have property in another province or territory, will my BC power of attorney apply?

Possibly. However, the safest approach is to check with a lawyer in that province or territory.

Is a power of attorney made in one province okay in another?

It is likely the power of attorney made in one province will be recognized in another. However, it may not be effective in dealing with all real estate matters.

With respect to an enduring power of attorney, the Power of Attorney Act and Regulations have some provisions relating to recognition of extra provincial enduring powers of attorney. You should ask a lawyer or notary if you would make a new power of attorney.

Powers of attorney for real estate

If you want your attorney to have the power to sell your real estate property or deal with mortgages or easements, there are special requirements. You must go to a lawyer or Notary Public to have the document prepared, and here are a few things you should know:

  • Your power of attorney must use the exact name that is listed on your real estate property at the land titles office. For instance, if the name on the property deed is “chung Hon Lee, you cannot use “c.H. Lee.” If you are not sure of the exact name, do a search at the land title office.
  • A power of attorney for real estate gives your attorney the power to sell or transfer property to someone else, but not to him or herself. If you want to include that power, it has to be specifically written in. Discuss this with your lawyer or notary.
  • You must sign the power of attorney in the presence of a lawyer or notary, and the lawyer or notary must also sign.
  • You must register the power of attorney at the land title office and pay the registration fee. Check at your local land title office for the current fee. You can wait to register it, but don’t wait to check with the office to make sure it meets the requirements.
  • A power of attorney for real estate ends automatically in three years unless it is an “enduring” power of attorney or you say, “Section 56 of the Land Title Act does not apply.”

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2014.

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