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Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney allows the attorney (who need not be a lawyer!) to sign documents for the person giving the power, the Donor, signing the Donor's name, and then adding their own. Powers can be general, restricted, or Enduring, or combinations of them. Granting a Power does not prevent the Donor of the power of continuing to act as he or she wishes.

A general power [a standard power] authorises the Attorney to sign any document which the donor could sign.

A restricted power restricts that right, or grants only specified rights. The range of such possible restrictions is very wide.

An enduring power restricts continues to have effect whilst the donor is not himself able to sign a document. These are now the preferred form for private individuals. Each form comes with a set of notes which you should take care to read. This note does not replace the form nor the rules and statue.

A standard Power of Attorney should be renewed each year, though a simple endorsement can confirm it from year to year.

A standard Power of Attorney only has effect whilst the Donor would himself be to sign the document. If a Donor loses the ability to manage his or her own affairs, standard powers become not only ineffective, but mis-leading and probably dangerous.

A Power of Attorney is a very powerful document and must only be granted to somebody in whom you place the highest trust, and it can be entirely correct to limit in different ways.

An Attorney may not pass on to other the power which has been given to him. This is important nowadays where, for example, shares are held by a stockbroker's nominee companies. If the donor has shareholdings, let us know so that the appropriate additional powers can be included.

The original Power should be kept in a safe place. If you wish us to provide certified copies of the Power when we draft it for you, we are happy to do so. The copies can then be taken, for example, to the bank so that they can record it so that cheques etc signed under the power will be recognised.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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Copyright and Database Rights: David Swarbrick 2012
18 October 2013 347 18 October 2013