Changing or ending an EPA

Please note, the language in this guide has been simplified to facilitate understanding of Enduring Powers of Attorney. Where any language appears to conflict with that contained in the relevant legislation (generally, the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988) the relevant legislation should be referred to instead.

Changing or removing an attorney

A person is no longer able to act as your attorney if:

  • they are bankrupt
  • they no longer have capacity to make decisions
  • they are subject to a personal order or property order (an order from a Family Court judge about a person’s personal care and welfare or about their money and property, in situations where the person is unable to make decisions for themselves)
  • the Family Court revokes their appointment

The attorney can opt out of their role. You can also remove them if you have capacity to make decisions.

If the attorney chooses to opt out

They must give you notice in writing if you have capacity to make decisions, or go to the Family Court if you are no longer able to make decisions.

If you choose to remove an attorney or cancel your EPA

While you are able to make decisions, you can cancel your EPA or remove an attorney at any time by giving written notice to the attorney. You should also give notice to any successor attorneys.

If you have two or more attorneys for your property EPA, you may be able to remove an attorney and keep other attorney(s) in place. This will depend on how you set up your EPA and we recommend you get legal advice.

You must notify the attorney of your decision so that your decision becomes "active". If you do not give them notice, they can continue to act, and their decisions will be valid.

Suspending an EPA

If you recover the ability to make decisions, you can suspend the EPA by writing to the attorney. In this case, the EPA would come back into effect if in the future a health practitioner certifies, or the court determines, that you have lost the capacity to make decisions.

When an EPA ends

An EPA ends if:

  • you cancel the EPA or the appointment of the attorney by giving the attorney notice in writing (if you have capacity to make decisions)
  • a later EPA of the same kind states that it cancels the earlier EPA, and a copy of this is given to the previous attorney(s) of the earlier EPA
  • you die.

An EPA also ends when:

  • your attorney (or a jointly appointed attorney) dies
  • your attorney (or a jointly appointed attorney) becomes bankrupt or loses capacity to make decisions
  • your attorney gives notice in writing to either you (if you have capacity to make decisions) or the Family Court (if you no longer have capacity to make decisions) that they no longer wish to act as attorney
  • the Family Court removes the attorney because they are not acting in your best interests or are failing to comply with certain obligations
  • the Family Court removes the attorney because you were made, by a person taking advantage of you, or by fraud, to create the EPA, or the attorney is not suitable to be your attorney.

If your EPA provides for successive attorneys to take over, then the EPA will only end when any of the above applies to the last attorney.

Help from the Family Court

The Family Court can be asked to make decisions about things such as:

  • disputes about an EPA, such as its meaning or effect
  • whether an attorney is suitable to be your attorney.

A wide variety of people can ask the Family Court to intervene if they have concerns, including:

  • your relatives
  • a doctor or social worker
  • another attorney of yours (if there is more than one, and who isn’t the attorney whose decision is being reviewed), or
  • anyone else who gets the Family Court’s permission to apply.

The Family Court and enduring power of attorney – Ministry of Justice

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