What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) gives someone (ie an ‘attorney’ or ‘donee’) the authority to handle your legal affairs if you are unable to act in person. General Powers of Attorney can be used while you have mental capacity but are temporarily unavailable to act in person for some other reason (eg because you are abroad or in the hospital).
For use in England and Wales only. This POA cannot be used internationally.
When should I use a Power of Attorney?
Use this Power of Attorney if you:
need someone to act in your place while you’re away or ar otherwise unable to act
want to give someone the power to act as if they were you on a short-term basis only
have 'mental capacity' (ie you understand what you are signing)
trust absolutely the person you appoint as your attorney(s)
live in England or Wales
This POA cannot be used to create a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
This General Power of Attorney is made on________________________________(date) by of , .
I appoint of , and of , to be my Attorney in accordance with Section 10 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971.
I have executed this document as a Deed on the above date.
|Executed as a deed by|
|in the presence of:|
|Name of witness|
About Powers of Attorney
Learn more about making your Power of Attorney
How to make a Power of Attorney
Making a Power of Attorney online is simple. Just answer a few questions and Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. When you have all of the details prepared in advance, making your document is a quick and easy process.
To make your Power of Attorney you will need the following information:
Donor and donee details
Your details (eg name and address).
Do you want to appoint one or two donees?
If there are two donees, can they make individual decisions or must they make joint decisions?
What are the donee’s (or donees’) details?
Does the POA have an end date?
If so, what is the end date?
Can this POA be used to buy, sell or otherwise deal in Government securities and/or for matters outside the UK?
Common terms in a Power of Attorney
Powers of Attorney are used to grant someone else the power and authority to act on your behalf while you are unable to act but have mental capacity (eg because you’re out of the country). In order to do this, POAs typically include the following sections:
This General Power of Attorney is made on…
This section sets out the date on which the POA is made and by whom (ie you, the donor). Your address is included to provide further confirmation of your identity.
I… appoint, constitute, nominate and authorise…
This section sets out who you, the donor, are appointing to act as your attorney(s). Your attorney’s address is included to provide confirmation of their identity. If there are two attorneys, this section also states whether they can act severally (ie on their own) in addition to jointly, in accordance with Section 10 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971.
I hereby state that I will confirm and ratify…
This section essentially reinforces the donor’s promise to abide by (eg by backing up or following through on) actions that their attorney takes using the power they’re being granted by this document.
I have not received any consideration…
Consideration means something of value that is exchanged for something else (eg money, property, or the provision of services). This section states that no such consideration was given to the donor by the attorney in exchange for their granting the attorney their powers under the POA.
This General Power of Attorney expires…
If your POA will include an end date, this section will set out that date.
I have executed this document…
This section clarifies that the POA is a deed, and has been executed in accordance with the formalities of a deed. This includes signature sections for you and your witness or witnesses, depending on what the POA is to be used for.
If you want your Power of Attorney to include further or more detailed provisions, you can edit your document. However, if you do this, you may want a lawyer to review or change the POA for you, to make sure it complies with all relevant laws and meets your specific needs. Ask a lawyer for assistance.
Legal tips for making a Power of Attorney
Consider your prospective donee(s)
As your donee(s) will be acting for you and on your behalf, and will have power over your assets, it’s crucial that you appoint someone that you trust absolutely. Further, before appointing anyone to act as your attorney, you should speak to them to see if they’re willing to take on the responsibility.
Determine whether your donees can act separately
If you appoint two individuals to act on your behalf, you also need to consider how they will need to make any decisions. You should consider the specifics of the situation and the attorneys you have appointed when making your decision.
Your two attorneys will always have to make decisions jointly. This means that any decisions made by them must be agreed upon by both and any documents must be signed by both. However, the POA can also allow attorneys to act independently (known as ‘severally’). An example of an attorney acting independently would be one attorney being able to sign a cheque on your behalf.
Consider whether a POA end date is necessary
Without an end date, POAs last until either they are revoked, the donor (ie you) loses mental capacity, or the donee becomes incapable of acting in their capacity as attorney (eg because they lose their mental capacity or file for bankruptcy).
Providing an end date in your POA provides certainty, as it sets a date on which the POA terminates and your attorney’s powers cease. If you do decide to include an end date, remember that your POA should typically not last for more than a year from the day it is granted.
Consider whether a General Power of Attorney is the right document for you
General Powers of Attorney should be used where you have mental capacity and want your attorney(s) to act for you while you have mental capacity. If you want to grant your attorney(s) the power to act on your behalf even after you no longer have mental capacity, you should make an LPA. For more information, read General powers of attorney and Lasting powers of attorney.
Understand that the situation in Scotland is different
This POA is designed to be used if you are based in England or Wales. In Scotland, different rules apply to who can make POAs and when. Further, the POAs that exist in Scotland have different names and different effects than those in England and Wales. For more information, read Power of attorney in Scotland and do not hesitate to Ask a lawyer if you require a Scottish POA.
Consider whether you need an overseas POA
Overseas Powers of Attorney are generally used by people who live in one country, but who have assets abroad. In such situations, it is advantageous to appoint an attorney who lives in that country and is familiar with the jurisdiction (eg the laws and official procedures of the country in question). There are various situations in which overseas POAs may be useful, including for international property transactions and overseas inheritance cases. As a result, if you own property abroad or if you live in different countries throughout the year, you should consider making an overseas POA. For more information, read Overseas powers of attorney.
Get certified copies of your completed POA
Once completed, you should safely store your original Power of Attorney document and make copies for yourself and all relevant parties, such as your attorneys. Due to the nature of POAs, you should consider having certified copies of your Power of Attorney made. A certified copy is one which is confirmed by a qualified person (eg a lawyer, bank official, dentist or teacher) as a true copy of the original. Be aware that Rocket Lawyer cannot certify your POA for you. However, most solicitors offer certification services for a fee.
For more information, see the Government’s guidance.
Understand when to seek advice from a lawyer
Ask a lawyer for advice:
on limiting your attorney's duties to specific acts only
if you want your attorney to continue to act on your behalf if you lose mental capacity
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
Power of Attorney FAQs
What is included in a General Power of Attorney?
This Power of Attorney template covers:
the donor’s details (ie the details of the person making the POA)
the donee’s (ie the attorney’s) details
the end date of the POA
how the POA can be used
What is the difference between a General Power of Attorney and lasting power of attorney?
Like a General POA, a lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to give someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf. However, 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 General POA, which comes into effect at a specific time at which you still have mental capacity. A General POA will come to an end if the person who made the Power of Attorney loses their mental capacity.
If you want to create a POA which continues if you lose mental capacity, you need to create an LPA. You can create an LPA using Rocket Lawyer’s LPA service.
Do I need a Power of Attorney?
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, in the 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. For example, if you need someone to execute documents when you are away or when you want to entrust a family member to manage your business whilst you’re on holiday.
When should I make a Power of Attorney?
There are a variety of reasons why you may wish to make a POA, for example:
if you are going on holiday (eg to another country) and will be away from home for a significant period of time
because you are in the military and will be stationed overseas
because you frequently travel abroad due to work requirements for extended periods of time (eg international work placements)
if you need someone to act for you outside the UK (you may wish to consider making an overseas POA)
General Powers of Attorney should not be used to create a document that you want to last after you lose mental capacity (eg to appoint someone to manage your financial and/or health matters if you are unable to do so yourself, for example, because you are no longer capable of retaining information necessary to make decisions). In such circumstances, you should make an LPA.
Who is a donor and who is a donee?
The person making the POA is called the donor. The person being given the power to act on the donor’s behalf is the donee (or attorney).
Who can act as my attorney?
However, under this Power of Attorney, you can only appoint an individual (or multiple individuals) to act as your attorney. Each appointed individual must:
Examples of individuals who you may wish to appoint as your attorney include:
your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
a family member or trusted relative (eg a parent or sibling)
a trusted friend or colleague
a professional (eg a solicitor)
How many people must witness the Power of Attorney?
Your 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 two witnesses.
How long does a Power of Attorney last?
If you wish, you can set an end date for this POA. Alternatively, if it doesn’t have an end date or if you want to terminate the POA before its end date, you can revoke it using a Revocation of power of attorney.
Are Powers of Attorney valid after death?
Generally, POAs end whenever the person that made them dies. As a result, this General Power of Attorney only lasts while you’re alive and have mental capacity.
Who can override a Power of Attorney?
As a General POA should only be used for a short period of time, it can be overriden by the donor. This means that the donor can revoke the Power of Attorney whenever they wish. For example, because they no longer want a certain person action on their behalf (eg because they no longer trust them).
How can a Power of Attorney be revoked?
A General Power of Attorney can be revoked by a Revocation deed. It will also be automatically revoked by the mental incapacity of the donor.
For more information, read Revoking a power of attorney and lasting power of attorney.