General power of attorney

Giving temporary support to someone with all or some of their finances

A general power of attorney allows family, friends or a professional person such as a solicitor to look after someone else’s finances on their behalf. These people are known as attorneys.

If the account holder sets up a general power of attorney with you as one of their attorneys, you can:


  • use it on all of the account holder's accounts – or just on the ones they choose
  • cancel it at any time.

It can be useful for someone to make you their attorney if:

  • they go into hospital or are recuperating from an illness, operation or accident
  • they travel a lot and need someone in the UK to manage their finances
  • they’re waiting for a lasting power of attorney to be set up.

To set up a general power of attorney, the account holder needs to be able to make financial decisions for themselves. If this changes after the general power of attorney has been set up, it will end.

Who can be an attorney?

You might be a friend, relative or professional person such as a solicitor or accountant. You must be over 18 (in Scotland it's 16), and the account holder can appoint more than one attorney.

If more than one attorney is appointed, the account holder will need to specify whether you are to act:


  • Jointly – this means that the attorneys must all sign for transactions and make joint decisions and they cannot act independently of each other
  • Jointly and severally – this means the attorneys can make decisions either on their own or with other attorneys.

Account holders can also state that attorneys act jointly in some matters and jointly and severally in others.

Each attorney will need to complete and return a registration of power of attorney (IF18) form – PDF (opens in a new window).

What we can give attorneys

When you register as an attorney with Nationwide, you can request: 


  • A chequebook
    We can give you and the account holder, or just one of you, chequebooks.
  • A card
    We can give you a card, but only if we cancel the account holder’s card.
  • Account statements
    Current accounts: both you and the account holder can choose to receive statements. 
    Savings accounts: only one person can receive statements. 
  • Online access
    We may be able to give you and the account holder, or just one of you, access to the Internet Bank. You will need:
    • An account with us that’s eligible for Internet Bank access. If you don't already have Internet Bank access set up on your own accounts, we can set this up for you as part of the registration process.
    • A power of attorney document that doesn't include restrictions on what you can do. For example, limits to which accounts or how much money you can access.
    • A UK address when you register the power of attorney document.
    • To be personally named as an attorney in the power of attorney document.
    • To not be acting 'jointly' with another attorney. This means you have to make decisions together.
    • To not be acting on behalf of someone with a Nationwide joint account. If this is the case, you need to manage all of their accounts in branch.

What attorneys cannot do

When acting as an attorney with Nationwide, you cannot:


  • Use or apply for credit 
    We cannot let attorneys run up unsecured debt in someone else’s name. This means you cannot apply for credit cards, overdrafts or loans. But you can pay off existing debt and manage mortgage payments.
  • Access all types of accounts 
    We cannot register attorneys on the following savings accounts: Treasurers Trust, PortfolioInvestor, Business Investor or Child Trust Fund.
  • Use telephone banking for payments or transfers
    You can call us to ask questions about the account, but attorneys cannot transact over the phone.
  • Use the Nationwide Banking app
    Attorneys cannot use our Banking app yet, but you may be able to use our Internet Bank.
  • Have a card if:
    • Your power of attorney document has restrictions on what you can do with that account. For example, there's a limit to how much money you can access.
    • You’re acting ‘Jointly’ with another attorney. This means you have to make decisions together.

Safeguarding and security

You must always act in the donor’s best interests. For their protection, we may sometimes refuse transactions or contact the donor to discuss them.

Setting up a general power of attorney

Follow these simple steps to get set up.

The account holder can write their own document, as long as specific wording is used and the document is signed and witnessed correctly. They may wish to seek advice from a solicitor or from their local Citizens Advice Bureau to ensure that the correct wording has been used.

Once you’ve got the general power of attorney document, you need to send us:

Send all of these items to:

Power of Attorney Team
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
SN38 1NW

Who can certify a copy of a general power of attorney?

We’ll accept copies of a general power of attorney if they’ve been certified by:

  • a solicitor
  • a stockbroker
  • a notary
  • the donor.

About a week after we receive your documents, we’ll write to you to let you know that we’ve registered the general power of attorney. If the account address has been updated to your address, we’ll also send the account holder a letter to let them know about the address change.

If we need more information from you, or proof of ID and address, we’ll write to you to let you know what we need.

How to cancel or change the general power of attorney

To make a change, the account holder will need to create a new general power of attorney document, get it signed and witnessed, and send it to us.

To cancel a general power of attorney, either you or the account holder needs to send us a letter confirming the cancellation.

If the attorney goes bankrupt, loses mental capacity or dies, the general power of attorney will come to an end. It will also come to an end if the account holder loses mental capacity or dies.

Find out more

Power of attorney helpdesk

0800 464 30 18 (UK)

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Saturday: 9am - 12pm

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