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The recall of some power or authority that has been granted.
Revocation by the act of a party is intentional and voluntary, such as when a person cancels a Power of Attorney that he has given or a will that he has written. The revocation of a will takes place when a testator makes a later will containing terms that are inconsistent with the terms of an earlier will, or when the testator destroys the former will.
A revocation by operation of law or constructive revocation occurs without regard to the intention of the parties. A power of attorney, therefore, is ordinarily revoked automatically by operation of law upon the death of the principal.
n. 1) mutual cancellation of a contract by the parties to it. 2) withdrawing an offer before it is accepted. ("I revoke my offer"). 3) cancelling a document before it has come into legal effect or been acted upon, as revoking a will. 4) to recall a power or authority previously given as cancelling a power of attorney or cancelling a driver's license due to traffic offenses. (See: contract, will)
revocationthe nullification of an act or transaction or the withdrawal of authority formerly given. In the relationship of principal and agent, the general rule is that in the absence of any contractual rule to the contrary, the principal is free to revoke his agent's authority at any time provided that the agent has not already fulfilled his obligations. See AGENCY, OFFER.
REVOCATION. The act by which a person having authority, calls back or annuls
a power, gift, or benefit, which had been bestowed upon another. For
example, a testator may revoke his testament; a constituent may revoke his
letter of attorney; a grantor may revoke a grant made by him, when he has
reserved the power in the deed.
2. Revocations are expressed or implied. An express revocation of a will must be as formal as the will itself. 2 Dall. 289; 2 Yeates, R. 170. But this is not the rule in all the states. See 2 Conn. Rep. 67; 2 Nott & McCord, Rep. 485; 14 Mass. 208; 1 Harr. & McHenry, R. 409; Cam. & Norw. Rep. 174 2 Marsh. Rep. 17.
3. Implied revocations take place, by marriage and birth of a child, by the English law. 4 Johns. Ch. R. 506, and the cases there cited by Chancellor Kent. 1 Wash. Rep. 140; 3 Call, Rep. 341; Cooper's Just. 497, and the cases there cited. In Pennsylvania, marriage or birth of a child, is a revocation as to them. 3 Binn. 498. A woman's will is revoked by her subsequent marriage, if she dies "before her husband. Cruise, Dig. tit. 38, c. 6, s. 51.
4. An alienation of the estate by the devisor has the same effect of revoking a will. 1 Roll. Ab. 615. See generally, as to revoking wills, Lovelass on Wills, oh. 3, p. 177 Fonb. Eq. c. 2, s. 1; Robertson Wills, ch. 2, part 1.
5. Revocation of wills may be effected, 1. By cancellation or obliteration. 2. By a subsequent testamentary disposition. 3. By an express revocation contained in a will or codicil, or in any other distinct writing. 4. By the republication of a prior will; by presumptive or implied revocation. Williams on Wills, 67; 3 Lom. on Ex'rs, 59. Vide Domat, Loix Civ. liv. 3, t. 1, s. 5.
6. The powers and authority of an attorney or agent may be revoked or determined by the acts of the principal; by the acts of the attorney or agent; and by operation of law.
7.-1. By the acts of the principal, which may be express or implied. An express revocation is made by a direct and formal and public declaration, or by an informal writing, or by parol. An implied revocation takes place when such circumstances occur as manifest the intention of the principal to revoke the authority; such, for example, as the appointment of another agent or attorney to perform acts which are incompatible with the exercise of the power formerly given to another; but this presumption arises only when there is such incompatibility, for if the original agent has a general authority, and the second only a special power, the revocation will only operate pro tanto. The performance by the principal himself of the act which he has authorized to be done by his attorney, is another example; as, if the authority be to collect a debt, and afterwards the principal receive it himself.
8.-2. The renunciation of the agency by the attorney will have the same effect to determine the authority.
9.-3. A revocation of an authority takes place by operation of law. This may be done in various ways: 1st. When the agency terminates by lapse of time; as, when it is created to endure for a year, it expires at the end of that period; or when a letter of attorney is given to transact the constituent's business during his absence, the power ceases on his return. Poth. du Mandat, n. 119; Poth. Ob. n. 500.
10.-2d. When a change of condition of the principal takes place so that he is rendered incapable of performing the act himself, the power he has delegated to another to do it must cease. Liverm. Ag. 306; 8 Wheat. R, 174. If an unmarried woman give a power of attorney and afterwards marry, the marriage does, ipso facto, operate as a revocation of the authority; 2 Kent, Com. 645, 3d edit. Story Bailm. Sec. 206; Story, Ag. Sec. 481; 5 East, R. 206; or if the principal become insane, at least after the establishment of the insanity by an inquisition. 8 Wheat. R. 174, 201 to 204. When the principal becomes a bankrupt, his power of attorney in relation to property or rights of which he was divested by the bankruptcy, is revoked by operation of law. 2 Kent, Com. 644, 3d edit.; 16 East, R. 382.
11.-3d. The death of the principal will also have the effect of a revocation of the authority. Co. Litt. 52; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 185; 2 Liverm. Ag. 301; Story, Ag. Sec. 488; Story, Bailm. Sec. 203; Bac. Ab. Authority, E; 2 Kent, Com. 454, 3d edit.; 3 Chit. Com. Law, 223.
12.-4th. When the condition of the agent or attorney has so changed as to render him incapable to perform his obligation towards the principal. When a married woman is prohibited by her husband from the exercise of an authority given to her, it thereby determines. When the agent becomes a bankrupt, his authority is so far revoked that he cannot receive any money on account of his principal; 5 B. & Ald. 645, 3d edit.; but for certain other purposes, the bankruptcy of the agent does not operate as a revocation. 3 Meriv. 322; Story, Ag. Sec. 486. The insanity of the agent would render him unfit to act in the business of the agency, and would determine his authority.
13.-5th. The death of the agent puts an end to the agency. Litt. Sec. 66.
14.-6th. The extinction of the subject-matter of the agency, or of the principal's power over it, or the complete execution of the trust confided to the agent, will put an end to and determine the agency.
15. It must be remembered that an authority, coupled with an interest, cannot be revoked either by the acts of the principal, or by operation of law. 2 Mason's R. 244, 342; 8 Wheat. R. 170; 1 Pet. R. 1; 2 Esp. R. 565; 10 B. & Cr. 731; Story Ag. Sec. 477, 483.
16. It is true in general, a power ceases with the life of the person making it; but if the interest or estate passes with the power, and vests in the person by whom the power is exercised, such person acts in his own name. The estate being in him, passes from him by a conveyance in his own name. He is no longer a substitute acting in the name of another, but is the principal acting in his own name in pursuance of powers which limit the estate. The legal reason which limits the power to the life of the person giving it exists no longer, and the rule ceases with the reason on which it is founded. 8 Wheat. R. 174.
17. The revocation of the agent is a revocation of any substitute he may have appointed. Poth. Mandat, n. 112; 2 Liverm. Ag. 307; Story, Ag. Sec. 469. But in some cases, as in the case of the master of a ship, his death does not revoke the power of the mate whom he had appointed; and in some cases of public appointments, on the death or removal of the principal officer, the deputies appointed by him are, by express provisions in the laws, authorized to continue in the performance of their duties.
18. The time when the revocation takes effect must be considered, first, with regard to the agent, and secondly, as it affects third persons. 1. When the revocation can be lawfully made, it takes effect, as to the agent, from the moment it is communicated to him. 2. As to third persons, the revocation has no effect until it is made known to them; if, therefore, an agent, knowing of the revocation of his authority, deal with a third person in the name of his late principal, when such person was ignorant of the revocation, both the agent and the principal will be bound by his acts. Story, Ag. Sec. 470; 2 Liverm. Ag. 306; 2 Kent, Com. 644, 3d edit.; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 108, 570; Story, Bailm. Sec. 208; 5 T. R. 215. A note or bill signed, accepted or indorsed by a clerk, after his discharge, who had been authorized to sign, indorse, or accept bills and notes for his principal while in his employ, will be binding upon the latter, unless notice has been given of his discharge and the revocation of his authority. 3 Chit. Com. Law, 197.