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What is a General Power of Attorney?

What is a General Power of Attorney?

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney are usually tested in the CII AF1 paper and will often appear in other exams too such as J02, R06, and AF5. Sometimes a General Power of Attorney will be tested – often throwing candidates in the process.  In this article, we look at the details of these.

What is a General Power of Attorney?

A General POA (or Ordinary POA) is where one person (the donor – who must have mental capacity) gives another person (the attorney) the right to make decisions and act on their behalf.   This can be limited to a specific thing or it can be general (although it can only be used for property and financial matters and not personal health and welfare). In addition, the power does not cover the donor’s role as trustee or personal representative and they could not sign a will on the donor’s behalf.

The most usual examples of when a General POA will be used is where someone is:

  • travelling overseas and needs someone in the UK to manage finances
  • in hospital or recovering from an illness/operation

Who can be an attorney?

An attorney must be over the age of 18 with capacity.  If more than one is chosen, then the donor decides whether they are to act ‘jointly’ or ‘jointly and severally’.

  • Jointly means that the attorneys must make joint decisions and cannot act on their own.
  • Jointly and severally means the attorneys can make decisions together or on their own (several means on their own).

An attorney is usually chosen because they are a relative, a close friend or they have been chosen in a professional capacity, such as a solicitor.

Enduring and Lasting POAs are usually tested in the CII AF1 paper, but sometimes a General Power of Attorney will be tested – often throwing candidates in the process. Here is some more detail regarding these. Click To Tweet


Bringing a General Power of Attorney to an End

A General POA does not have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and usually ends either on a specified date or where the donor revokes the power by completion of a Deed of Revocation.

A General POA also ends where a donor:

  • dies
  • loses mental capacity

It will also end if the attorney:

  • dies
  • is declared bankrupt
  • loses mental capacity

A Power of Attorney is a powerful and wide-ranging document (unless restricted), and those wishing to put one in place should fully understand the implications of their doing so and only give the power to those they trust implicitly.

Grab the resources you need!

If you’re studying for your CII AF1 exam, and you’re a bit worried about exam day, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s resources for yourself.  Click the link to download the AF1 mock paper taster now!

Click here to download our free taster mock paper for CII AF1

Alternatively, you can download the taster for AF5J02, or R06 if you’re studying for one of those exams.