Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a means by which one person (the donor) can appoint another person or persons to act in the name of the donor. The power of attorney can be either general in nature permitting the attorney to carry out any act that the donor could have carried out personally (though there are some minor exceptions to this), or it can be given for a specific task.

Anyone who has legal capacity can give a power of attorney. This means that the person giving the power of attorney must be over the age of 18 years and must not be mentally incapable.

Once granted a power of attorney can be revoked by the following:

  • specific revocation by the donor
  • implied revocation by the donor i.e. some act by the donor inconsistent with the continuation of the power
  • death of the donor
  • bankruptcy of the donor
  • mental incapacity of the donor (unless it is an Enduring Power of Attorney - PLEASE NOTE that no new Enduring Powers of Attorney can be created after 1st October 2007. These have been replaced by a Lasting Power of Attorney. We do not provide these templates at the moment)

A general power of attorney can be created very easily. You can download our form for this and all you will need to do is fill in the name and address of both the donor (the person giving the power of attorney) and the attorney (the person who will act as the attorney).

An attorney appointed under a general power of attorney can do most things which the donor could have done personally. One important exception to this is in connection with the donors functions as a trustee in connection with the sale of a property. When a house is owned jointly then the owners of this are trustees – though often holding upon trust for themselves. The powers of the trustee can be delegated under a power of attorney but these need to be dealt with specifically rather than generally. Thus if the purpose of the Power of Attorney is to enable a jointly owned property to be sold then the general power is not suitable. You should use our specific form for the sale of a jointly owned property. The joint owners cannot appoint each other and nor can they appoint the same attorney.

Alternatively you can grant a Power of Attorney which is limited to specific tasks. This would be convenient if, for example, the donor was going abroad for a long period of time and wanted someone to be able to carry out certain tasks but did not want to give them complete control over the donors affairs.

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The documents available on this site have been prepared for use in England & Wales. They may not be valid if used in other areas.