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How to make a Power of attorney (POA)

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another individual or company (the attorney) the authority to deal with your affairs and to act on your behalf and in your name. It is governed by section 10 of the Power of Attorney Act 1971

Make sure someone has the authority to handle your legal affairs with this power of attorney (also known as a POA) when you are out of the country or in hospital. This power of attorney form allows you to give legal permission to someone else to sign legal documents and make decisions on your behalf. It is only for use when you still have mental capacity but are unavailable to act in person for some other reason.

For use in England and Wales only.

Use this power of attorney (POA):

  • 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 (POA) covers:

  • the end date of the power of attorney
  • how the power of attorney can be used

A lasting power of attorney (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 to a general power of attorney. Rocket Lawyer can help you make a Lasting power of attorney and you can find out more through the Office of the Public Guardian.

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 power of attorney must be witnessed, in general, 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.

With this power of attorney, you can set an end date, if you wish, or it can be revoked using a Revocation deed.

A POA can be revoked by a Revocation letter. It will also be automatically revoked by the mental incapacity of the donor, ie who granted the POA in the first place.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • 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 lasting powers of attorney
  • 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.

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