A General Power of Attorney can be used to make sure that you are taken care of in the event of an accident or other situation affecting your ability to manage your own affairs. For example, you may just be out of the country for a period of time and need someone to monitor your affairs in the meantime. Or, it could be that you are becoming ill with a disease and you need someone to help you if you are declared unable to handle your affairs in the future.
The General Power of Attorney is a document that appoints an attorney to act on your behalf in relation to general activities such as personal and/or financial matters. You can choose to appoint an Attorney generally to act on your behalf. In this situation, the attorney will have the authority to manage all and any of your affairs. Alternatively, you can choose to grant your attorney authority to undertake only specific tasks on your behalf, e.g. to manage a specific bank account.
The Power of Attorney does not actually have to be given to a legally qualified professional; it is usually given to a close friend or relative. Ultimately, the person you do appoint must be someone that you trust completely and believe is competent to deal with your affairs appropriately.
Once a Power of Attorney has been put in place, it can be terminated at any time using a Deed of Revocation of Power of Attorney.
Please note, however, that a ‘General Power of Attorney’ is not suitable if you need someone to manage your affairs after you have lost the mental capacity to act on your own behalf as it will become void on your losing your mental capabilities – a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) should be used instead, which continues to be valid once a person loses their full mental abilities, provided that it is registered with the Court of Protection. This process can take several months so a General Power of Attorney might be useful to appoint someone to manage your affairs until the Court completes its registration process.