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.

How can my attorney help manage my account?

You decide what they can do. This can include:

Cards and chequebooks

If we issue a card to your attorney, we’ll need to cancel yours. So they can hold the card on your behalf. That's because there can only ever be one cardholder.

However, you can both hold a chequebook. If you’d prefer to cancel yours, just let us know.

Statements

When a power of attorney is registered with us, you can choose which address all future mailings go to.

Savings account statements can only be sent to this address.

Current account statements can be sent to more than one address. So you can choose for your attorney and you, or all of your attorneys, if you have more than one, to receive them.

Online access

If you're unable to use online banking, we will consider providing your attorney online access. Contact us so that we can talk through and assess the situation with you.

Credit cards

Your attorney can manage your card and make repayments to it.

Mortgage

Your attorney can make payments to your mortgage and help manage it on your behalf. A power of attorney agreement allows an attorney to deal with your mortgage and property, unless you have stated otherwise within the document. Please talk to us to find out more.

What an attorney isn’t allowed to do

Attorneys are not allowed to:

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

Safeguarding and security

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

For your protection, we may sometimes refuse transactions or contact you to discuss them.

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.

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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If you need to speak to a member of staff, pop into any branch.

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