Area of Law: Wills, Estates and Powers of Attorney
Answer # 158
When does a Power of Attorney for Property take effect and can you revoke it?Region: Ontario Answer # 158
A Power of Attorney for Property takes effect as soon as it is signed and witnessed, and can be revoked at any time provided you are mentally competent.
When does it take effect?
If you do not want your Power of Attorney for Property to take effect immediately, you must specifically state in the Power of Attorney that it will take effect on a later date. For example, if you want the Power of Attorney to come into effect only if you become mentally incompetent, you must say so in the Power of Attorney document.
Can you revoke it?
Generally, a Power of Attorney lasts until your death. However, you can revoke a Power of Attorney at any time if you are mentally competent. By revoking a Power of Attorney, it means that it is cancelled and no longer effective. Although there is no special form that must be completed to revoke a Power of Attorney, the cancellation must be written and signed in front of two witnesses who are both present when you sign. The two witnesses must then also sign.
Although the witnesses do not need to be the same witnesses who signed the original Power of Attorney, under the law, your witnesses cannot be your attorney, the spouse or partner of your attorney, your own spouse or partner, your child, or anyone under the age of 18. Your Power of Attorney will not be legally cancelled if the revocation is not properly witnessed. You should give a copy of the revocation to anyone who was aware of the previous Power of Attorney. This way, they will know that it has been cancelled.
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