Power of Attorney’s (POA) exist in all forms and shapes in Bulgaria. There are different types of authorizations, so we will be not able to explain all types in this article. Instead we will concentrate on the problem of how you can cancel a POA and make sure it wont be used anymore.
Notarized or not
First of all, it is important what sort of POA you have issued (that you now want to cancel). The POA may be a “simple” one without any sort of legalization. In such case, the revocation is easier and we will not discuss it now. Instead we will concentrate on the legalized POAs.
For use in Bulgaria, a POA is usually legalized by either:
- Notary public in Bulgaria, or
- Notary public in another country + an apostille / or + certification by Bulgarian embassy abroad.
There are also other, more “exotic” institutions, who are sometimes authorized to legalize POAs. Such are for example the local mayors in Bulgaria, although with some limited rights.
When can you cancel your POA
The Bulgarian “Law on obligations and contracts” stipulates clearly that a POA may be cancelled “at any time”.
POA can be revoked anytime by the issuer
So legally, the POA is valid only for as long as you haven’t cancelled it. Simple and straightforward, right? No!
The problems with the revocation of your POA
Informing all parties – mission impossible
By law, after you inform the POA holder(s) (the person(s) who you have authorized) that you are stopping their rights, they should no longer make any use of the POA. Many practical problems however arise in this situation.
First and foremost, when a POA is withdrawn, there is usually some sort of a conflict between the parties (why would you otherwise be revoking the POA?). In such case, the authorized persons may simply ignore the fact that you are revoking their rights and continue to act on your behalf. Later they can explain their actions with the fact that they have been unable to verify positively that it has been indeed you who has cancelled the POA. Suppose that you have sent them an email with your instructions to stop using the POA. In such case, they may claim that the email could have been sent by anybody (and this is technically indeed possible, if no digital signatures have been used). Or they may even claim they haven’t received the email.
Always inform in writing (traceable) the authorized parties about your clear intention to cancel their rights. And do it in legally provable way. We know it isn’t easy and is definitely not cheap in certain cases, but better stay on the safe side.
And when the POA has clause that allows for re-authorization
If this is the case, your mission becomes even harder. In fact this means that you have allowed the people you have authorized to authorize other people with certain rights. And if you haven’t been informed about such re-authorizations, you don’t even know who can now represent you.
Informing the parties who are intended to act upon presentation of the POA
Usually, the POA is intended to be used in-front of certain third parties. For example you may have authorized someone to represent you in front of certain banks in Bulgaria. In such case, the best you can do (in addition to officially revoking the rights by informing the authorized) is to also inform the banks that the POA is not valid anymore. In such way, you will have almost full guarantee that the POA will not be accepted.
Unfortunately, this will be only feasible if the POA lists specifically the parties that it is intended to be used with. If the POA is drafted broadly, i.e. to be used with all state bodies in Bulgaria or with all commercial entities, informing all parties is out of question.
Informing the legalizing body
This is another option, which you should certainly make use of. If your POA has been certified by Bulgarian notary-public, you should inform him in writing immediately if you want to cancel it. In this way, any third party that wants to verify the validity of the POA may eventually contact the notary and will find out that the POA has been cancelled. Unfortunately, such checks in Bulgaria are usually only carried out by the large banking institutions.
Taking physical control of the original POA
Most people believe that if they get the original POA back, the game is over. Not really though. There may be notarized copies already done on basis of the original POA and these basically bear the same legal value. Or, some institutions may request the original POA only once and then they keep on acting upon it. For example a bank may accept POA, register the authorized person initially and then continue to provide services on basis of the POA without requesting to verify it again. Such services can be even remote online banking etc., where the presentation of the original POA can not be even asked for as it is technically not possible.
So what you should do to cancel your POA in Bulgaria
With all being said, you should basically do all of the above in conjunction. Still, probably the most important is to never give a POA to anyone you don’t trust sufficiently.
If you have already given the POA however, try to cancel it politely and to remain on good footing with the involved person(s). This may save you the hassle of sending countless number of letters and paying unnecessary fees.
If you need any assistance, please contact us without hesitation.