How to set up Power of Attorney
To give someone the power to act on your behalf, you'll need to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and then register this agreement with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
The LPA has to be submitted by the donor, the person whose finances or health and welfare it covers.
There are two types of Power of Attorney - property and financial affairs, and health and welfare. You can set them both up the same way, but will need to submit two applications.
You can do this yourself or get a solicitor to handle the application for you.
It's not possible to set up Power of Attorney for someone who has lost mental capacity. Instead, members of their family will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their deputies. Find out more in our guide to Deputies and the Court of Protection.
Step-by-step guide to Power of Attorney
Here, we explain how to set up and register a Power of Attorney.
Power of Attorney cost
When you return the signed Power of Attorney forms to the OPG, you’ll also need to submit payment.
The fee per Power of Attorney is £82 – so if you want to register a property and financial affairs LPA, and a health and welfare LPA, it’ll cost you £164.
If you earn less than £12,000, you can apply for a reduction. You may also qualify for an exemption if you’re on certain benefit, such as Income Support.
Some people prefer to get their Power of Attorney prepared by a solicitor. This can prevent mistakes which sometimes cause an application to be rejected, but the cost of applying through a solicitor is considerably higher - some charge as much as £500, plus the £110 OPG fee.
Need assistance? Which? Wills offers an online Power of Attorney service for those who would like professional help to set up an LPA
Authority to act as an Attorney
To act as an attorney, you will need certified copies of the original Power of Attorney. These are accepted by banks and other institutions and prevent any risk of the original (stamped by the OPG) getting lost.
A normal photocopy is not sufficient, unless it has been countersigned by the donor while they still have capacity. But to be valid, such copies must have the following:
- At the bottom of each page, the donor must write: ‘I certify this is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original Lasting Power of Attorney.’
- On the final page of the copy, the donor must write: ‘I certify this is a true and complete copy of the Lasting Power of Attorney.’ Every page must be signed and dated.
Most solicitors will provide certified copies of the OPG document for a very modest charge, even if they didn't provide the original Power of Attorney.
Using Power of Attorney with a bank
Most attorneys for property and financial affairs deal with the donor’s bank.
Before you can do this, you have to go through another registration process with the bank.
Attorney’s duty of care
Acting as an attorney obliges you to maintain a duty of care to the donor, not to benefit yourself. It’s important to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
Specifically, you must keep the donor’s money and property separate from your own and keep accurate accounts in all of your dealings as an attorney.
Cancel your Power of Attorney
As long as the donor still has mental capacity, they can end the lasting power of attorney.
To do this, you’ll need to send the OPG the original Power of Attorney, as well as a written statement called a ‘deed of revocation’.
You can find the wording for this deed at the government’s power of attorney guide.