Power of Attorney: A Simple Guide

An easy to understand explanation of the different types of Power of Attorney available, and how each type can be used.

Definition of Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is a legal document authorising the ‘Attorney’ to act on behalf of another person who is no longer able to deal with their own affairs ‘the Donor’. Anyone can be an Attorney as long as they are over 18 and capable of making decisions, the only exception to this is someone who is bankrupt.

Responsibilities of an Attorney
  • To act in the best interests of the Donor
  • To only undertake tasks that the Donor has authorised you to do
  • Keep separate up-to-date accounts of the Donor’s financial affairs
  • When signing documents use your usual signature but print beneath Attorney for and the Donor’s name.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
  • Were made until the end of September 2007
  • The Attorney has some powers before it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian
  • If the Donor loses mental capacity the EPA must be registered
  • Once registered the Donor is no longer allowed to deal with their affairs.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
  • Replaced EPA’s from September 2007
  • There are two types –Property and Finance, and, Health and Welfare. The Donor does not need to make both types but if they do they can appoint different Attorney’s on each
  • LPA’s have no effect until they have been registered
  • Once registered the Donor can still manage their affairs along with the Attorney until they are no longer able to do so
  • For more information on making an LPA, contact the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300 or speak to a solicitor.
Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA)
  • Can have been made at any time
  • Valid immediately but only for 12 months
  • Cannot be used if the Donor lacks mental capacity
  • A Deed of Revocation can be used to cancel it
  • May be used when the Donor has a physical illness or is travelling abroad for some time.

The information given in this guide is based on Bath Building Society’s understanding of Power of Attorney as at March 2015, which may change in future. It does not constitute a recommendation and individuals are advised to seek professional independent advice.