A power of attorney is a legal arrangement that gives someone else the power to make decisions for you.
Some powers of attorney are designed to last indefinitely.
But you can set up an arrangement called an ‘ordinary power of attorney’.
This is designed to be used – often for a specific, short period or for a specific task when you’re able to make your own decisions but it’s convenient to ask someone else to take over.
An ordinary power of attorney can be useful if:
- you’ll be away on holiday or in hospital for a time, or
- you’re able to make your own decisions but want someone else to be able to step in with support from time to time.
An ordinary power of attorney can cover:
- all your financial affairs – called a ‘general power’, or
- just some areas that you specify, like dealing with the tax office or selling a house.
You can cancel the arrangement at any time. An ordinary power of attorney is automatically invalid if you lose the ability to make your own decisions.
If you want a power of attorney that will continue even if you lose the ability to make your own decisions, you’ll need to make a lasting power of attorney (called a continuing power of attorney in Scotland and an enduring power of attorney in Northern Ireland).
To set up an ordinary power of attorney, you can contact a solicitor.
But before you spend any money, check that your bank and any other providers will recognise the power and accept your attorney’s instructions.
A Citizens Advice Bureau might also be able to help.