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Types of Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is a legal document where customer (known as the Donor who is – the person giving the power) appoints one or more Attorneys (third parties authorised to act on behalf of the Donor).

The customer (Donor) must have mental capacity to create a Power of Attorney.

When you decide to register the Power of Attorney with HSBC, we need to see the full Power of Attorney document (either the original or a copy which has been certified on every page).

Here are the main types of Power of Attorney.

General/Ordinary/Specific Powers of Attorney

  • A General/Ordinary/Specific Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • This can be useful if you need to grant someone authority for a temporary period, for example while you're on holiday.
  • It must be created as a deed and the Donor's signature must be witnessed.
  • This type of power is automatically cancelled (revoked) if the Customer (Donor) loses mental capacity.

What’s the difference between General Power of Attorney and Ordinary/Specific Power of Attorney?

Enduring Power of Attorney

  • An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • On 1 October 2007, this type of power was replaced in England and Wales by the Lasting Power of Attorney. English or Welsh Enduring Powers of Attorney signed before this date are still valid.
  • Northern Ireland still issue Enduring Powers of Attorney.
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney only has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian if the Customer (Donor) is losing/has lost mental capacity (Office of Care and Protection for Northern Ireland Enduring Powers). If we're asked to add a registered Enduring Power of Attorney we will treat this as confirmation that the customer (Donor) has lost mental capacity and the customer (Donor‘s) access to their accounts will be removed.
  • Please refer to 'Enduring Power of Attorney explained (PDF)' for further details.
  • To find out what your attorney can do, see our 'What an attorney can do' page.

Lasting Power of Attorney

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your attorney/s) to make financial decisions for you, and to carry out everyday transactions on your behalf.
  • You may wish to choose this option if you’re planning ahead for a time when you’d like someone to make decisions on your behalf.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
  • There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.
  • Property and Financial Affairs remains valid even if you lose mental capacity.
  • A Scottish Continuing/Combined Power of Attorney is similar to the Lasting Power of Attorney. It must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland before it can be used.

  • Please refer to 'Lasting Power of Attorney explained (PDF)' for further details.
  • To find out what your Attorney can do, see our 'What an Attorney can do' page.

 

Mental Capacity

Mental capacity can be thought of as the ability to make your own decisions. You can find more information about mental incapacity and about the practical application of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act on the NHS website.

As an Attorney, you may need to support someone you know who has lost the capacity to deal with their financial affairs. This guide will provide you with information and links which you may find useful.

Mental health problems can affect the way a person thinks, feels and behaves.

When you want to register a Power of Attorney with us, if you are the Attorney, we will ask you whether the customer (Donor) retains the capacity to manage his/her financial affairs.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

For the purposes of this Act, a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he/she is unable to make a decision for themselves in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain'.

It also states 'a person is unable to make a decision for themselves if he/she is unable -

  • to understand the information relevant to the decision,
  • to retain that information,
  • to use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision, or
  • to communicate his/her decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)'.

More information can be found under Mental Capacity Act 2005.

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