There are different types of powers of attorney. A general power of attorney is ideally suited for situations where you need to give certain rights to another person or persons to deal with your property for a limited time. This might be because you are going away on holiday or moving out of the country for a few years and need someone to manage your affairs whilst you are gone. Please note that a general power of attorney is also known as an ordinary power of attorney.
A general power of attorney cannot be used in cases where you need someone to act on your behalf because you are incapable of doing these tasks for yourself because of such reasons as an illness, accident or because of the onset of dementia. If this is what you require, you should read our '' section.
The general power of attorney would be useful if, for example, you are selling your home and the exchange of contracts is due to take place around the time when you will be away on holiday. Then, if there are problems while you are away on holiday - e.g. a last minute amendment to what is included within the fixtures and fittings of the property - these amendments can be signed off by your 'attorney' under your general power of attorney. Failure to have a power of attorney in place may mean that in this scenario you cannot complete the paperwork in the proper form accepted by solicitors and Land Registry for a property sale even if you fully know and have agreed to all the amendments.
When you no longer want your general power of attorney to be in force, you can revoke the general power of attorney by using a document called 'Revocation of a general power of attorney.'
Since a general power of attorney cannot be used in instances where a person lacks the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf, if the person creating the power of attorney loses capacity, the general power of attorney will automatically come to an end.
This article contains information on general powers of attorney in Northern Ireland. If you are in Scotland or England or Wales, you should use refer to our articles on(Scotland) or on (England & Wales) as appropriate.