Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby a person gives another person(s) written authorisation to make decisions on their behalf with regard to their financial affairs, their health and personal welfare or some other legal matter. The people to whom the written authorisation or 'powers' are granted are called 'Attorneys'.
There are two types of Power of Attorney that UK legal institutions recognise:
- Temporary - those which are created for a set period of time or for a specific purpose and end either at a specified time or upon the request of the person granting it. These are called Ordinary or General Powers of Attorney and they automatically come to an end if you lose mental capacity. If you have a physical illness or an accident resulting in physical injury or you are going abroad and you want someone else to look after your affairs a temporary power of attorney can be useful.
- Permanent - those which allow someone else to manage your legal, financial and health affairs should you lose capacity in the future. If you have been diagnosed as having, or if you think that you may develop, a mental illness, for example, severe schizophrenia, or a degenerative brain disease leading to mental incapacity, for example, Alzheimer's disease, and you want someone else to manage your financial affairs and/or your health and welfare either now or in the future. This can include paying bills, collecting pensions and other money due to you or dealing with bank or building society accounts, subject to any restrictions or conditions you might want to include. It can only be used after it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
The laws governing powers of attorney in England and Wales are different from those in Scotland and different forms are required. We offer versions of both temporary and permanent powers of attorney for both jurisdictions.
General Power of Attorney Forms
Our General Power of Attorney forms are temporary POAs. A general POA is created for a set period of time in cases where the Granter is going abroad or is unable to act for some other reason and wishes someone else to have the authority to act on his or her behalf. A General Power of Attorney will usually end either at a specified time or upon the request of the Granter at any time using a Deed of Revocation and will automatically be revoked if the Granter loses mental capacity.
The General POAs we offer give the Attorney authority to take decisions and actions on behalf of the Granter, as if the Granter were taking them himself or herself, in relation to nearly all the Granter's property and financial affairs. This could include buying or selling property or shares, signing cheques etc. It does not enable the Attorney to exercise functions which the Granter has as a trustee or executor of someone's estate. A General Power of Attorney does not need to be registered.
General Powers of Attorney are also referred to as Ordinary Powers of Attorney. In our product range we've labelled the ones for use in England and Wales "Ordinary" powers or attorney and the ones for Scotland as "General" powers of attorney - just to make a clear distinction.
Lasting Powers of Attorney and Continuing Powers of Attorney
In England and Wales permanent power of attorney is granted using Lasting Power of Attorney forms. In Scotland the equivalent permanent powers of attorney are Continuing or Welfare Power of Attorney forms.