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How to make a Power of attorney (POA)

Create a power of attorney (POA), also known as a ‘general power of attorney’ or ‘GPA’, to give another individual or company (your attorney) the authority to deal with your affairs and to act on your behalf and in your name. This document is a general power of attorney and is not a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

For use in England and Wales only.

POAs are governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 1971. They are legal documents which give someone the authority to handle your legal affairs when you are out of the country or in hospital or otherwise unable to act in person. This POA form allows you to give legal permission to someone else to sign legal documents and make decisions on your behalf. It is a general power of attorney (sometimes known as an ‘ordinary power of attorney’), which is only for use when you still have mental capacity but are unavailable to act in person for some other reason.

If you want to create a POA which continues if you lose mental capacity, you need to create a lasting power of attorney. You can create an LPA using Rocket Lawyer’s LPA service.

Use this general power of attorney template:

  • if you need someone to act in your place whilst you are away

  • if you want to give someone the power to act as if they were you on a short-term basis only

  • when you have 'mental capacity' (ie you understand what you are signing)

  • only if you trust absolutely the person or persons you appoint as your attorney(s)

  • only if you live in England or Wales

This power of attorney covers:

  • the end date of the POA

  • how the POA can be used

An LPA allows you to give someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf, but it comes into effect when you lose mental capacity or if you choose to no longer make your own decisions. It is different from a GPA, which comes to an end when the person who made the power of attorney loses their mental capacity.  For more information, read Lasting powers of attorney and see the Office of the Public Guardian’s website.

If you need an LPA, make use of Rocket Lawyer’s LPA service.

You should complete the form if you want to appoint someone to handle your documents or financial affairs in the event that you are absent or away from home or in any other specific situation when you need someone to act on your behalf. This could include executing documents when you are away or when you want to entrust a family member to manage your business whilst you are on holiday.

The person giving the power is called the donor and the person to whom the power is given is the donee.

You can choose:

  • an individual/s over 18 years old

  • a company

  • or a limited liability partnership

to act as your attorney. The individual needs to have mental capacity and not be discharged or interim bankrupt.

The general power of attorney must be witnessed, typically by one witness. However, in some circumstances, such as when you buy, sell or otherwise deal in government securities or the power is used for matters outside the UK, you will need at least two witnesses.

You can set an end date for this POA if you wish. Or, it can be revoked using a Revocation deed.

A general power of attorney can be revoked by a Revocation letter. It will also be automatically revoked by the mental incapacity of the donor.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • advice on limiting your attorney's duties to specific acts only

  • advice if you want your attorney to continue to act on your behalf if you lose mental capacity

  • advice about LPAs

  • additional advice if you are unsure about any of the issues connected with this general power of attorney

  • if you are based outside of England and Wales

Other names for Power of attorney (POA)

POA, General power of attorney, GPA, GPAO, Ordinary power of attorney, OPA.