Assigning a power of attorney (POA)
Your guide to power of attorney
You may find yourself in a situation where you’ll want – or need – to assign a power of attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf.
What’s a power of attorney?
A power of attorney allows someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf. You can assign one if you want to or are no longer able to make your own decisions.
In some cases, what the attorney can and can’t do will depend on your ability to make decisions about your finances.
The different types of power of attorney
Mandatories for all types
- You and your attorney must be aged 18 or over
- Both of you must understand the decisions you need to make, why you need to make it and the likely outcome of your decision at the time your power of attorney is assigned
- A power of attorney can only help manage your account in the way you want them to. They won’t have any legal claim to any money
A general power of attorney (GPA), sometimes known as an ordinary power of attorney, gives someone the ability to help manage your finances for a short amount of time. For example, if you’re in hospital or you often travel overseas.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA) is when you need help managing your finances on a permanent basis. You can apply for a LPA on the government website, filling in a form or by seeking independent legal advice.
You can download and edit this form to fill in your details. It can then be emailed back to us using the email address on the form. If you're not able to edit the PDF, you can print it and write your details then send back us using the postal address on the form.
You’ll need to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. We strongly suggest you do this as soon as you’ve done the paperwork to avoid delays or finding errors when you need the LPA. Once you have, you’ll still remain in full control of your money until you’re no longer able – it can be used even if you were to lose mental capacity.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA) was replaced by LPA in 2007. If you have an EPA that was signed before 1 October 2007, you can still use it. But it must be registered with the Office of Public Guardian when you start to or have lost your mental capacity.
If you live in Scotland, there’s a Scottish Office of the Public Guardian that offers:
- continuing power of attorney – gives attorneys the authority to deal with finances and property
- welfare power of attorney – allows attorneys to make decisions about health or personal welfare matters. You can’t use this with a bank or building society
- combined power of attorney – attorneys get continuing and welfare rights
A Court of Protection (COP) order is a legal document that lets a person (known as the ‘deputy’ in legal documentation) make decisions about property and finances on behalf of someone who, due to mental incapacity, can no longer make those decisions themselves (known as the ‘donor’).
Visit the government website to find out how you can apply to become a court-appointed deputy and the fees involved. If your application is urgent or an emergency, you can apply for an emergency interim order.
For all types of COP orders:
- the deputy must be over 18
- the COP only lasts as long as the donor is alive
- the COP isn’t like a joint bank account – a deputy won’t have any legal claim to any money
- the deputy must be over 18
Register a power of attorney with us (or cancel one)
If you want to register a power of attorney with us, it’ll need to relate to financial affairs. You’ll also have let us know if you’ve got any others in place. Use these numbers to start the process – or cancel your power of attorney.
Accepting payments account holders
Call 0800 161 5343, Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm (excluding bank holidays).
Business card account holders
Call 0800 008 008, whatever time or day of the week (including bank holidays).