How to set up a power of attorney 7 steps to setting up a power of attorney
Setting up and using a lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) needn't be a difficult process. We take you through the main things you need to know.
You can choose more than one person to act as your attorney, but it’s important to be confident you’ve chosen the right person or people to carry out the tasks involved in looking after your affairs. Bear in mind that if you lose mental capacity, you probably won't be able to monitor how they are looking after your affairs.
Once you’ve made your choice, you need to make your LPA using an LPA form, also known as the instrument. You can download this form and get guidance on completing it from the Government website. The form allows you to impose restrictions on how the attorney can act.
You don’t have to use a solicitor to make an LPA, although some people chose to get legal advice and help in setting it up. Your attorneys cannot act on your behalf until the LPA is registered with the OPG. This costs £130 (increased from £120 in October 2011), although exemptions and remissions are available for people receiving means tested benefits.
If you have an unregistered Enduring Power of Attorney (which were replaced by LPAs in 2007), it can still be used and your Attorney will still need to register it if they believe you are, or are becoming, mentally incapable.
If you have an unregistered Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and would like to replace it with a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you can revoke your EPA while you still have the capacity to do so. However, if an EPA has been registered, it can only be revoked with the permission of the Court of Protection.
If you want to use a registered LPA or EPA with a bank or building society, they will need to see the Power of Attorney document, plus proof of your ID and address and proof of the account holder's name and address.
All banks and building societies should follow the guidance framework agreed in April 2013. This was developed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the Building Societies Association (BBA).
Banks may require an attorney to complete a registration form and take a copy of the certified Power of Attorney document, returning the original after they have inspected it. The donor should not be required to attend a local branch.
The new guidance makes it clear that an attorney should normally be able to access bank accounts online or by telephone as well as in person. The BBA and BSA have produced a leaflet to help people who need to make or use a power of attorney.
If you feel a bank or building society is not dealing with your Power of Attorney properly, make a formal complaint. If the bank or building society fails to resolve it, take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
In Scotland there are two types of Power of Attorney – a Continuing PoA and a Welfare PoA. You can get more information about setting these up from the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).
In Northern Ireland there are also two types of Power of Attorney – an Ordinary and an Enduring power of Attorney. If you are concerned that you may become incapable of managing your affairs, make an Enduring Power of Attorney, as an Ordinary one automatically ends if you lose mental capacity. For more information, go to the Office of Care and Protection (NI).