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General powers of attorney

This information only applies in England and Wales

Imagine that you are meant to complete the purchase of your new house at exactly the same time as you are due to take your children to Disneyland. You cannot be in two places at once, so you need to create a one-off document which will allow someone else to sign on your behalf 'as your attorney'. That's what a general power of attorney is. So let Rocket Lawyer walk you through the process of making these special event materials.
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You may be familiar with the term power of attorney, but you probably associate it with the elderly and vulnerable in society.

However, any of us could, at any time and at any age, find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to make financial decisions or health and welfare decisions ourselves.

When such a situation arises, a power of attorney can be invaluable. There are two types of power of attorney: a General power of attorney and a Lasting power of attorney

A general power of attorney is the most straightforward power of attorney that you can make.

People normally only use this document for 'one off events' and for a short period of time.  For example, you may be in the middle of an important transaction but at the same time about to leave the country on holiday or on business. A general power of attorney will allow you to appoint somebody to sign documents on your behalf in your absence so that the transaction is not held up.

Once you are back from your travels, you should revoke the power of attorney.

General powers of attorney should not be used where you intend the arrangement with your attorney to be a long standing one or you intend the arrangement to continue even if you were to lose your mental faculties. In these circumstances you should consider making a Lasting power of attorney.

First of all, you need to decide who you are going to appoint as your attorney or attorneys. It goes without saying that you should trust these people implicitly.

They are likely to be making some very important decisions on your behalf. Your attorneys: 

  • must be over the age of eighteen

  • must be of sound mind

  • cannot be (undischarged or interim) bankrupts

If you decide to have more than one attorney, you will need to decide whether your attorneys are given authority to act jointly and severally, or jointly.

Acting jointly: this means that all your attorneys must agree to every decision made on your behalf.

Acting jointly and severally: this means that any one of the attorneys can make decisions independently of the others.

A general power of attorney is generally revoked when a donor is no longer happy with the attorney, and wishes to cancel their appointment, or where the Power of attorney was created for a specific purpose, and is no longer needed.

A Revocation of power of attorney should be used to revoke a general power of attorney.

For more information, read Revoking a power of attorney and lasting power of attorney.

Make your General power of attorney
Get started
Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest