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Competing Attorneys – What happens if I have two Enduring Powers of Attorney in place at the same time?

Recently I received an enquiry about what happens if a person appoints two Attorneys under two separate Enduring Powers of Attorney with the same terms, but at different times. If you have completed an Enduring Power of Attorney and forgotten about it, or if you have completed a new Enduring Power of Attorney without revoking a previous one, you should know what the implications will be.

The Powers of Attorney Act 1998 states the following:

  1. If you have made an Enduring Power of Attorney and would like to revoke it to put a new one in place, you must take reasonable steps to advise your previous Attorney that their power has been revoked. You must do this in writing, and it must be signed, witnessed and dated.
  2. If you have registered your previous Enduring Power of Attorney with the Titles Registry, you will need to deregister it.
  3. If you have made a second Enduring Power of Attorney without revoking the first one, the previous Enduring Power of Attorney is revoked, to the extent of any inconsistency between the two documents.
    • For example, if you give your mother power under your first Enduring Power of Attorney to deal with one of your bank accounts, then later give your father power under another Enduring Power of Attorney to deal with that same bank account, your mother’s power regarding the account will be revoked, but other powers you have given her that you did not then give your father will still be valid.
  4. If you have made an Enduring Power of Attorney prior to your marriage, the provisions in that document are revoked to the extent that it gives power to someone other than your husband or wife, unless you have specifically stated otherwise in your Enduring Power of Attorney.
  5. Similarly, divorce will revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney to the extent that it gives power to your ex-spouse.

Revoking an Enduring Powers of Attorney

It is very important to complete a Revocation of Enduring Power of Attorney, and advise your Attorney of the Revocation, before you complete a new document. Even if you would like to appoint the same Attorney again but with different powers, or jointly with someone else, it is better to revoke their previous power and then have them sign a new Enduring Power of Attorney so that there is no confusion as to what powers you would like to give, and to whom.

An experienced estate planning solicitor is the best person to prepare Enduring Powers of Attorney documents for you. Please contact me if you would like assistance or advice regarding Enduring Powers of Attorney or any estate planning matters.

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Written by—

Chloe Kopilovic

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