What is an Ordinary Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (PoA) is an written agreement where the ‘Donor’ authorises a third party, an ‘Attorney’ to represent or act on their behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter, generally done when the donor is away on holiday or out of the country for extended periods of time.
The Power of Attorney can either be General or limited to Specific affairs.
If the donor loses mental capacity this will automatically terminate the Power of Attorney and if the attorney continues to act it can get them in to trouble.
In such circumstances a Lasting Power of Attorney is used however, it must be created before the incapacity arises. It is therefore recommended you create a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and register it early so your Attorney(s) can act for you when you need them to while you have capacity and if you lose it for any reason they can continue to act.
If there is a hurry due to circumstances deteriorating rapidly we recommend having an Ordinary Power of Attorney in place while the Lasting Power of Attorney is being registered but only if the donor still has capcity.
What is a General Power of Attorney?
A General Power of Attorney is governed by Section 10 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 and gives the Attorney(s) power over almost all of the Donor’s affairs and should therefore be used with great caution.
It can be used for people whose partners are in the armed forces, prison, business partners, non-domiciled parties or otherwise unavailable in the country. This enabling you to pay bills, enter contracts, and deal with day to day running of a household or business on their behalf.
It however cannot be used in regards to jointly owned property, any functions acting as trustee, personal representative or a tenant for life under the Settled Land Act 1925.
If one of your Attorneys is to be your Spouse or family member It is recommended you instead opt for the more robust and protected Lasting Power of Attorney and register early. This enabling you to have this extra layer in protection already in place if you lose mental capacity or serious injury where you cannot communicate your wishes.
However if your “Attorneys” will not be family or it is to deal with your affairs in a country where your Spouse is not present (example if your based abroad) or only have a business in the country. The a General Power of Attorney should fit the bill fine.
What is a Special Power of Attorney?
A Special Power of Attorney is used in cases where the Donor wishes the Attorney(s) to have only limited powers, usually covering one single transaction or a specified function.
Examples of Special Power of Attorney include:
1. The management of a bank account for a sick or disabled family member;
2. The purchase or sale of a property whilst the owner or the buyer is abroad;
3. The management of share portfolio’s and/or other investment portfolios.
Though these types of Power of Attorneys need very careful wordings and it is recommended that you get specialist advice and have them draw one up for you.
Please contact us using the form below if you require some advice in this area.
The Donor may appoint more than one Attorney to act on his behalf. These Attorneys can either act independently of each other (jointly and severally) or they can act together (jointly).
Where the Attorneys are acting jointly and severally, any of the Attorneys can sign documentation on behalf of the Donor individually, whereas if they have to act jointly, all the Attorneys must sign the documentation.
How to grant an Ordinary Power of Attorney
There is NO standard form for an Ordinary Power of Attorney and you should ideally contact an experienced adviser to help draft one as a small mistake could result in issues.
Free General Power of Attorney
However Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has a template that you may edit to your needs if required Free General Power of Attorney (via Charlie Fox ) however again if you do opt to do this please get any amendments checked by a legally trained person to ensure it does not make it invalid.
Revoking an Ordinary Power of Attorney
An Ordinary Power of Attorney does not need to be registered and will usually terminate either on a specified date or where the Donor expressly revokes the Power of Attorney, this can be done by destroying the Power of Attorney and any copies of it, verbally or formally by executing a Deed of Revocation.
Guides on other Power of Attorneys