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How to revoke or amend a power of attorney in Scotland

This information only applies in Scotland.

A donor (known as ‘granter’ in Scotland) may revoke or amend a power of attorney that has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

A power of attorney can only be amended if the granter is capable of making and understanding this decision. 

A power of attorney may, for example, be amended to:

  • remove powers
  • add an attorney (eg as a joint or a substitute attorney)
  • add additional power
  • vary existing powers

In practice, it may be difficult to apply certain amendments. As a result, it may be easier to revoke the existing power of attorney and create a new one in its place. 

Two types of amendments can be made to existing powers of attorneys:

  • simple administrative amendments
  • full deed of amendments

Simple amendments

Simple amendments are straight forward administrative amendments (eg changes of name or address). The granter will need to provide written details of the change to the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

Typically, no fee is charged for such amendments.

Full deed of amendments

A full deed of amendments covers situations where the granter wishes to, for example: 

  • amend the existing terms of powers granted 
  • add a joint or substitute attorney
  • add additional powers

The granter must inform the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) of any such changes in the form of a ‘deed of amendments’. This document should clearly set out what is to be amended and should be signed and dated by the granter.

The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) charges a fee for registering the amendment.

For more information, read the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) guidance.

As with amending a power of attorney, a power of attorney can only be revoked if the granter is capable of making and understanding this decision.

To revoke a power of attorney, a written notice (also called a ‘revocation notice’) must be used. This sets out what the granter wishes to revoke (whether they wish to revoke the entire power of attorney or a specific power). The revocation notice must be signed by the granter. Further, it must include a certificate by either a practising lawyer, a practising legal advocate or licensed and registered medical practitioner stating the following:

  • that, immediately before signing the document, they interviewed the granter
  • that they are satisfied - either due to their knowledge of the granter or through consulting another person named in the certificate, who has knowledge of the granter - that the granter understood the effect of revocation
  • that they have no reason to believe that the granter was subject to undue influence at the time of revocation or that there is another reason which ought to prevent the revocation

The revocation notice and the certificate must then be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) for registration. The details of the revocation will then be entered into the register and the attorney will be notified. The local authority and the Mental Welfare Commission will also be notified.

While revocation takes effect immediately on registration with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), the granter should make their attorney aware of the revocation by providing them with a copy of the signed revocation notice.

For more information, read the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) guidance.

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