General Power of Attorney

Getting temporary support with all or some of your finances

A General Power of Attorney allows family, friends or a professional person such as a solicitor to look after your finances on your behalf. These people are known as attorneys.

If you set up a General Power of Attorney with one or more attorneys, you can:

  • Use it on all of your accounts – or just on the ones you choose
  • Cancel or change it at any time.

It can be useful to make someone your attorney if:

  • You go into hospital or are recuperating from an illness, operation or accident
  • You travel a lot and need someone in the UK to manage your finances
  • You’re waiting for a Lasting Power of Attorney to be set up.

To set up a General Power of Attorney you need to be able to make financial decisions for yourself. If this changes after you’ve set up the General Power of Attorney, it will end.

Who can be your attorney?

Your attorney can be a friend, relative or a professional person such as a solicitor or accountant. They must be over 18 (in Scotland it's 16), and you can have more than one attorney.

If you want to appoint more than one attorney, you need to specify whether they are to act:

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

You can state that your attorneys act jointly in some matters and jointly and severally in others.

Each attorney will be required to attend their nearest branch with their ID before they are able to start managing the account.

What can my attorney do?

You can specify what your attorney can do on your accounts, and which accounts they have access to.

Your attorney can never run up an overdraft or get you into any debt. Here's what they can do:

Savings and current accounts

You can specify what your attorney can do on your savings or current accounts, and which accounts they have access to. They can write cheques and withdraw cash, use a debit card and make payments and transfers. They can also close accounts on your behalf.

Only one card is available on an account. However, if your account comes with a chequebook, you can order more than one chequebook for your attorneys.

Just so you know, the account holder’s cheque book is not cancelled automatically, so you'll need to let us know if you want to do this.

Current account statements can be sent to more than one address/attorney. However, savings accounts statements are sent only to the one address – the address chosen for future mailing.

Credit cards

Your attorney can make payments to your credit card and help to manage it on your behalf but they can’t use your credit card to buy anything.


Your attorney can make payments to your mortgage and help to manage it on your behalf, but they can’t borrow more money.

Remember, whenever your attorney comes into the branch, they must bring proof of ID.

Setting up your General Power of Attorney

Follow these simple steps to get set up.

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

Once you’ve got your document, register it with us by coming into a branch. We don’t charge to register a General Power of Attorney with Nationwide. You can make an appointment at your nearest branch. Only your attorney needs to come to the branch to set this up (you have the choice to attend or not).

The attorney must bring:

  • The original or a certified copy of the General Power of Attorney
  • A list of all the accounts that you’d like the attorney to manage
  • Information about any restrictions you want – for example, the maximum they can take out in one go
  • Proof of ID and address Your third party can’t use the same document to prove both their name and address.

About a week after your appointment, we’ll send a letter confirming that your General Power of Attorney has been set up. If the address has been updated to an attorney’s address and you (the donor) are still mentally capable, we will also send you a letter. This will let you know about the address change.

Making changes or cancelling a General Power of Attorney

To make a change, you will need to create a new General Power of Attorney document, get it signed and witnessed and give a copy to your branch.

To cancel a General Power of Attorney, either you or your attorney needs to bring a letter confirming the cancellation into one of our branches.

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 you lose mental capacity or die.

Safeguarding your accounts

It's very important that you only give a General Power of Attorney to someone you trust. You need to be sure they will act in your best interests, because you're allowing them to carry out transactions on your behalf for which you will be responsible.

We may sometimes check transactions where we're concerned about them, such as large withdrawals or where there are a lot of withdrawals in a short space of time. These checks may mean we refuse transactions or contact you about them.

Want to learn more about how we tackle fraud?

Find out more

Power of attorney helpdesk

0800 464 30 18 (UK)

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Saturday: 9am - 12pm

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