Financial Planning: Power of Attorney: Types of Power of Attorney

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Types of Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is a legal document where a Customer (Donor – the person giving the power) appoints one or more Attorneys (third parties authorised to act on behalf of the Donor).

The Customer (Donor) must have mental capacity to create a Power of Attorney.

When you decide to register the Power of Attorney with HSBC, we will need to see the full Power of Attorney document (either the original or a copy which has been certified on every page).

Although we are unable to give any legal advice, we have included information about how to get in touch with other organisations who may be able to assist you. Please see our Useful Links below.

Here are the main types of Power of Attorney (POA):

General/Ordinary/Specific Powers of Attorney

  • A General/Ordinary Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your Attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • A General/Ordinary Power of Attorney can be useful if you need to grant someone authority for a temporary period, for example while you are on holiday.
  • It must be created as a deed and the Donor's signature must be witnessed.
  • This type of power is automatically cancelled (revoked) if the Customer (Donor) loses mental capacity.
  • A General Power of Attorney applies to all of your financial affairs.
  • An Ordinary/Specific Power of Attorney can be limited to specific affairs.
  • Please refer to 'General Power of Attorney explained' for further details.
  • To find out what your Attorney can do, see our 'What an Attorney can do' page.

Enduring Power of Attorney

  • An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your Attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • On 1 October 2007, this type of power was replaced in England and Wales by the Lasting Power of Attorney. English or Welsh Enduring Powers of Attorney signed before this date are still valid.
  • Northern Ireland still issue Enduring Powers of Attorney.
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney only has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian if the Customer (Donor) is losing/has lost mental capacity (Office of Care and Protection for Northern Ireland Enduring Powers). If we are asked to add a registered Enduring Power of Attorney we will treat this as confirmation that the Customer (Donor) has lost mental capacity and the Customer (Donor‘s) access to his/her accounts will be removed.
  • Please refer to 'Enduring Power of Attorney explained' for further details.
  • To find out what your Attorney can do, see our 'What an Attorney can do' page.

Lasting Power of Attorney

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your Attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • You may wish to choose this option if you’re planning ahead for a time when you’d like someone you know to make decisions on your behalf.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
  • There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.
  • The following guidance relates to Property and Financial Affairs.
  • This type of power remains valid even if you lose mental capacity.
  • Please refer to 'Lasting Power of Attorney explained' for further details.
  • To find out what your Attorney can do, see our 'What an Attorney can do' page.
  • A Scottish Continuing/Combined Power of Attorney is similar to the Lasting Power of Attorney. It must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland before it can be used.

Mental Capacity

Mental capacity can be thought of as the ability to make your own decisions. You can find more information about mental incapacity and about the practical application of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act on the NHS website.

As an Attorney, you may need to support someone you know who has lost the capacity to deal with their financial affairs. This guide will provide you with information and links which you may find useful.

Mental health problems can affect the way a person thinks, feels and behaves.

When you want to register a Power of Attorney with us, if you are the Attorney, we will ask you whether the customer (Donor) retains the capacity to manage his/her financial affairs.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

'For the purposes of this Act, a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he/she is unable to make a decision for themselves in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain'.

It also states 'a person is unable to make a decision for themselves if he/she is unable -

  • to understand the information relevant to the decision,
  • to retain that information,
  • to use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision, or
  • to communicate his/her decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)'.

More information can be found under Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Useful Links

These links may allow you to access other websites. Please read the linked websites terms and conditions. HSBC UK Bank plc has no control over non-HSBC websites and is not liable for your use of them.