What kind of help can I arrange?

Third party mandate

General power of attorney

General power of attorney

If you need help managing your financial affairs on a short term basis or for as long as you are able to give instructions on your account, then a general (ordinary) power of attorney might be helpful.

What is a general power of attorney (GPA)?

This is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to give one or more people (attorneys) the power to act on your behalf in relation to your financial affairs.

A GPA can be applied to all your financial matters across all financial providers; or it can be limited, and only grant the attorney access to specific accounts and matters. You must have the mental capacity to make your own decisions when the GPA is set up, and the arrangement ends if you lose mental capacity at a later date.

A GPA might be used if:

  • access and authority to manage a number of accounts across a number of financial providers is needed
  • help is needed to manage your finances while you recover from an illness or operation
  • you're going travelling for an extended period of time or are regularly out of the country for work
  • you need help with a particular financial matter, such as selling a property, or
  • you'd like someone to act on your behalf only while you are able to supervise their actions.

Further information

Read Register a power of attorney for more on what you need to do.

Read Register a power of attorney to see what information the attorney(s) must bring to branch for their appointment.

Benefits of a general power of attorney

The benefits are:

  • It allows you to choose who can help you manage your affairs and what decisions they can and can't make
  • You can stay in control of decision-making after you’ve given authority, as long as your circumstances allow it
  • You can place restrictions on what you want help with, eg a house purchase, known as a 'specific' or 'limited' power of attorney
  • You can specify it for a period of time, eg to cover a trip abroad
  • It can be cancelled (revoked) at any time
  • Unlike a third party mandate, power of attorney can give someone access to all of your Nationwide accounts, as well as accounts you hold with other financial institutions.

Choosing an attorney and appointing multiple attorneys

When choosing your attorney, they could be a family member or friend, a solicitor or accountant or a combination, but they must be over 18 years old. You may want to appoint more than one person as your attorney, and must specify whether they are to act:

  • Together (known as 'jointly) – both have to act together
  • Separately or together (known as 'jointly and severally') – attorneys can make decisions independently or with other attorneys
  • The donor can state that attorneys act jointly in some matters and jointly and severally in others – for example day-to-day decisions can be made separately, but bigger decisions must be jointly.

For example, you may want to allow them to transact up to £1,000 individually, but to act jointly for transactions over £1,000.

What can my attorney(s) do?

Generally, attorneys should:

  • act in your best interest
  • consider your past and present wishes
  • not take advantage of you for their benefit, and
  • keep all of your money separate from theirs.

What the attorney(s) can do when managing your account

General Power of Attorney
Cash withdrawal
Cheque withdrawal
Bank transfer
Hold a debit card
If applicable to the account type, either the donor or the attorney can hold a debit card. You can decide who when you register your Power of Attorney with Nationwide.
Hold a credit card
No, they can only manage down existing credit card debt (they cannot hold their own card or open a new account).
Hold a cheque book
If applicable to the account type, either the donor or the attorney can hold a cheque book. You can decide who when you register your Power of Attorney with Nationwide.
Access internet banking
If the donor's account/s are available through internet banking, and if the donor is unable to manage their finances because of physical disability, the attorney can be provided with Internet Bank details upon request.
Access telephone banking
Open a new account
Close an account
Manage a mortgage
Yes, the attorney is able to manage a donor’s mortgage, including making repayments and opening a new account (only to reduce debt).

We can only write to one address, which you can choose at registration or a later date.

Registering a foreign power of attorney

We do accept foreign general power of attorney documents, but you must have your mental capacity when it's registered. You must provide the original in the foreign language and also have a translation, which is stamped by a notary.

We do not accept foreign lasting power of attorneys.

How do I end or change my general power of attorney?

As long as you are capable of making your own decisions, you can choose to change or cancel the general power of attorney at any time. To make a change, you just need to update your power of attorney document and give a copy of the new version to your branch. Or to cancel it, give the branch written confirmation of your request.

It also ends if:

  • you lose the ability to make your own decisions ('mental capacity') about your finances, and are no longer able personally to supervise or direct your attorney
  • you cancel (revoke) the power in writing
  • the power is limited to a specific task that's completed, eg the sale of a house
  • your sole attorney dies or loses their ability to make decisions ('mental capacity'), or
  • your sole attorney becomes bankrupt.

What happens if I can no longer make decisions?

If you lose your ability to make decisions ('mental capacity') and haven't appointed a lasting power of attorney, a family member, friend or solicitor can apply to become a deputy from the Court of Protection.

How much does a general power of attorney cost?

We don’t charge anything to register a power of attorney at Nationwide. 

Lasting power of attorney