General Power of Attorney (PoA)

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Document overview

This document is used to delegate authority to someone else to act for you, usually for a short and specified period of time.

You may be abroad but need someone to look after your financial and legal affairs at home for you (such as buying or selling property), or you may need someone to help with a specific task (such as collecting a pension) or you may just prefer someone more expert in a certain subject area (such as law) to act on your behalf in a certain matter.

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  • Length:2 pages (390 words)
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About this document

This type of document (abbreviated to PoA) allows you to give temporary authority to someone else to make decisions and act as if he or she were you.

It is intended to be used while you have mental capacity (and could carry out the action yourself), except that location or time may prevent you from acting.

As the giver you are the “donor” of the power and the receiver becomes your “attorney”. The actions that your attorney may take for you can be as general or specific as you like and may relate to one part or all of your affairs.

The document specifies both the powers that you grant and the time period during which the attorney has those powers. After the time has elapsed, the attorney;s powers end.

One of the features of a PoA is that it created for a defined period of time. It is not indefinite. It becomes effective as soon as it is signed (or otherwise if you specify in the document). You could draft it now for use later.

If you need to cancel it (called revoking in legal jargon) before the expiry date in the document, you can use a document called a deed of revocation to do so. It will automatically be revoked if the donor loses mental capacity.

You could also make a lasting PoA, which takes effect when you lose mental capacity. We provide a service that completes the forms. You can also read more about the types.

When to use this document

You can grant powers if you are over 18 years of age and have mental capacity. The attorney must also be over 18 years old and not be an undischarged or interim bankrupt.

You can only grant power to do things that you already have the right and capacity to do yourself. You can’t use it to allow the attorney to make decisions about your welfare.

Often, this type of document is used when

  • you are abroad but need someone to manage your financial and legal affairs at home (such as buying or selling property)

  • you want to allow someone to perform a specific task on a regular basis (such paying your bills in your name from your bank account each month or collecting a pension)

  • you want to allow someone with greater knowledge of a subject to act for you (e.g. an estate agent to negotiate buying a house)

You do not have to register this document with anyone or any organisation.

The attorney must be notified to make a revocation effective.

We have a version of this document tailored for when you wish for someone else to have power to sell your property.

Template features and contents

  • Flexible to suit all situations, business or personal
  • Can be used by anyone over 18 years old
  • Reference to the Powers of Attorney Act 1971
Sample general power of attorney (poa)Sample page from the general power of attorney

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Recent reviews

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15 February 2024
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