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 the Power of General Attorney' form before they are able to start managing the account.

How can I help someone under a general power attorney?

When you’re appointed as an attorney, the donor (the account holder) will decide what you can and can’t do with their accounts.

This can include:

Cards and chequebooks.

If we issue you a card, we’ll need to cancel the one held by the donor. That’s because there can only ever be one card in use.

However, you can both hold chequebooks. The donor will need to let us know if they want their chequebook cancelled.

Statements

When a general power of attorney is registered with us, the donor can choose which address they’d like all future mailings to go to.

Savings account statements can only be sent to this address.

However, current account statements can be sent to more than one address, so you and the donor, and any other attorneys if there’s more than one, can receive them.

Online access

If the donor is unable to use online banking, we will consider providing you with online banking access. The donor should contact us so that we can talk through and assess the situation with them.

Credit cards

You can manage the donors card and make repayments to it.

Mortgage

You can make payments to the donors mortgage and help manage it on their behalf.

A power of attorney agreement allows an attorney to deal with the donor’s mortgage and property, unless they have stated otherwise within the document. Please talk to us to find out more.

What you’re not allowed to do

Attorneys are not allowed to:

  • Run up an overdraft on the donors accounts
  • Make payments using the donors credit card
  • Take out a loan in the donors name.

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:

  • the original document, or a certified copy of it,
  • information about any restrictions the account holder wants – for example, the maximum amount you can take out in one go; and
  • a completed and signed copy of the Registration of Power of Attorney (IF18) form. If you can’t download and print this form, please call us on 0800 464 3018 and we’ll post one to you.

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, dies, or loses mental capacity, 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)

Useful information

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - 12pm

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