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 we can give attorneys

When your attorney registers with Nationwide, they can request:

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

What attorneys  cannot do

When acting as an attorney with Nationwide, your attorney cannot:

  • Use or apply for credit 
    We cannot let attorneys run up unsecured debt in someone else’s name. This means they cannot apply for credit cards, overdrafts or loans on your behalf. But they 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
    Attorneys can call us to ask questions about your account, but they cannot transact over the phone.
  • Use the Nationwide Banking app
    Attorneys cannot use our Banking app yet, but they may be able to use our Internet Bank.
  • Have a card if:
    • Your power of attorney document has restrictions on what they can do with that account. For example, there's a limit to how much money they can access.
    • They’re acting ‘Jointly’ with another attorney. This means they have to make decisions together.

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 cannot 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) still have mental capacity, we’ll 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'll 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, loses mental capacity or dies, 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

Contact us

Visit us in branch

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

Find a branch near you