What kind of help can I provide?

Third party mandate

General power of attorney

General power of attorney

If help is needed managing financial affairs on a short term basis, or for as long as the account holder is able to give instructions on their 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 the account holder (the donor) to give one or more people (attorneys) the power to act on their behalf in relation to their financial affairs.

A GPA can be applied to all of the donor’s financial matters across all financial providers; or it can be limited, and only grant the attorney access to specific accounts and matters.

The donor must have the mental capacity to make their own decisions when the GPA is set up, and the arrangement ends if the donor loses mental capacity at a later date. 

In the document, the donor can specify:

  • when responsibility passes to you and they can specify it for a period of time, eg to cover a trip abroad
  • what decisions you can and can't make
  • whether they want to make joint decisions with you
  • whether they only want help with something specific, eg a house purchase (known as a 'specific' or 'limited' power), and
  • restrictions, written in the document, eg if they just want you to have access to their current account to pay bills, and not have access to their savings accounts.

Further information

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

Working with another attorney

You may have been given a power of attorney with another person, either:

  • Together (known as 'jointly') – you 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, they may want to allow you to transact up to £1,000 individually but to act jointly for transactions over £1,000.

What you can do

Generally, attorneys should:

  • act in the best interest of the donor
  • consider the donor's past and present wishes
  • not take advantage of the donor for their own benefit, and
  • keep all of the donor's money separate from their own.

What can I do when managing the 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 the donor must have their 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.

When does the general power of attorney end?

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

It also ends if:

  • the donor loses the ability to make their own decisions about their finances, and are no longer able to supervise or direct the attorney/s
  • the GPA is limited to a specific task that's completed, eg the sale of a house
  • the sole attorney dies or loses their ability to make financial decisions, or
  • the sole attorney becomes bankrupt.

If this happens and you want to continue to act on their behalf, you can apply for a court order, to become an appointee of the court relevant to where the donor lives.

How much does it cost?

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

Lasting power of attorney

Court of protection order