What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document where one person (the 'Donor') gives others (their 'Attorneys') the right to make decisions for them and act on their behalf. This can be a temporary arrangement (General/Ordinary Power of Attorney) or, for longer-term arrangements a Lasting Power of Attorney can be put in place.
What types of Power of Attorney exist?
There are three types of Power of Attorney:
- General (or Ordinary) – this type of Power of Attorney is usually used if you need a person to handle your affairs for a temporary period of time. You can still handle your own affairs when this is convenient.
- Enduring (not issued after 30th September 2007) –this type of Power of Attorney was used when a person needed to nominate a person(s) to handle their affairs in anticipation of losing their mental and/or physical capacity in the future. The Donor is able to run their own affairs whilst they still have capacity to do so. Once the Donor loses their mental capacity, the Enduring Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). After the Power of Attorney is registered, the Attorney(s) manages the Donor’s affairs on their behalf.
- Lasting (replaced Enduring Power of Attorney from 1st October 2007) – this type of Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. The Power of Attorney may state that it cannot be used by the Attorney prior to the Donor losing their capacity.
How do I set up a Power of Attorney?
You can find help and advice on setting up a Power of Attorney by reading the consumer guidance notes which have been produced by the Building Societies Association, British Bankers Association and the Office of the Public Guardian.
What happens once the Power of Attorney is registered?
Providing we are satisfied that the Power of Attorney document allows the Attorney to operate the Savings account held by the Donor, we will register it against the account and send a confirmation letter to the Attorney. Please note: the Attorney will only receive a confirmation letter if they posted the Power of Attorney form to our Head Office (see ‘Useful documents’ section below).
Attorney(s) are able to open new savings accounts on behalf of the Donor, providing that there are no limitations in the document preventing this. For example the Power of Attorney may prevent the Attorney(s) acting until the Donor has lost their mental and/or physical capacity.
The only exception to this rule is the opening of new Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) by an Attorney(s) on behalf of the Donor and the opening of a WeBSave online savings account (which is not an ISA).
Due to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rules, the opening of ISAs using Powers of Attorney is more limited than the opening of other types of savings account. For further information about when an Attorney can use a Power of Attorney to open an ISA, please click here.
For information about what is required to register a Power of Attorney on an existing Savings Account, please click here
For Scottish, Irish and foreign Power of Attorney documents, a decision is made on a case by case basis. For details of where to send any documents please click here.