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This document is to be used to create an Ordinary Power of Attorney (also known as an General Power of Attorney). The document is tailored for use in England and Wales. It is possible to create an Ordinary Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland via a different document. A Power of Attorney can also be created in Scotland, through a different process.
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is a formal document which can be used by one person or a company (a donor) to give power to another person or company (the attorney) or, sometimes, to multiple people/companies (the attorneys) to deal with affairs on their behalf. For example, a donor could use an Ordinary Power of Attorney to give power to an attorney for the purposes of:-
Common situations where an Ordinary Power of Attorney might be used are:-
An Ordinary Power of Attorney can be created as a simple document to confer a broad (general) power from a donor to an attorney to manage their affairs generally. Alternatively, an Ordinary Power of Attorney can be created to give very specific powers to the Attorney (a Limited Power of Attorney). A Limited Power of Attorney might be used, for example, to give an attorney power to conduct a specific property sale.
There are limits on the sorts of powers which can be given to an attorney via an Ordinary Power of Attorney. For example, an Ordinary Power of Attorney cannot be used to give an attorney the power to carry out acts that relate solely to the donor's status (for example to carry out acts which are specific to a husband, wife, lawyer, doctor etc.) or to authorise acts which are unlawful/criminal.
In addition, there are different rules for trustees (those who have have been already given powers via a trust). Trustees, in general, can create an Ordinary Power of Attorney in order to delegate their trustee powers provided that:-
Pursuant to s.1 of the Trustee Delegation Act 1999, a trustee of land can delegate their functions as under an Ordinary Power of Attorney (rather than a Trustee Power of Attorney under s.25 of the Trustee Act 1925) provided that this is not prohibited by the trust instrument. Co-owners of land hold property on a statutory trust of land where the legal estate is held on trust for all those who hold a beneficial interest.
It is especially important to note that an Ordinary Power of Attorney SHOULD NOT be used:-
Instead, if a person wants to make arrangements for somebody to make decisions on their behalf or to manage their finances in the event that they become incapacitated, a Lasting Power of Attorney should be used (or, if signed before 1 October 2013, an Enduring Power of Attorney).
An Ordinary Power of Attorney does not need to be registered, and the power is created through the execution of the document as a valid deed.
It is useful to note that an Ordinary Power of Attorney can often be incorporated into other agreements (for example, as part of a transactional contract). In those circumstances, this document for a stand alone Ordinary Power of Attorney is not suitable.
How to Use This Document
This document can be used to create stand alone Ordinary Power of Attorney or a Trustee Power of Attorney. It should be completed with the full details, providing the accurate details for both the donor and the attorney.
The donor can be either:-
The attorney can be:-
The document takes the form of a deed and in order to take effect it must be executed properly as a deed (as specified by s.1 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971).
For a donor who is an individual, as per s.1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989, a deed must be executed by either:-
For a corporate donor that is a UK company, the document must be executed by either:-
For a corporate donor that is a Limited Liability Partnership, the document must be executed by either:-
Care should be taken to ensure that the document is correctly witnessed, and that the witness is suitable and is legally able to witness the document.
It is important to note that an Ordinary Power of Attorney will generally, save for in the cases of irrevocable powers of attorney and trustee powers of attorney, be terminated in any of the following circumstances:-
It is possible to create an irrevocable Ordinary Power of Attorney (which cannot be revoked without the attorney's consent and is not subject to the usual termination rules as described above) if:
The main statute governing Ordinary Powers of Attorney in England and Wales is the Powers of Attorney Act 1971
The main statute governing trustee Ordinary Powers of Attorney in England and Wales is the Trustee Act 1925.
The main statutes governing the execution of deeds in England and Wales are:
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Other names for the document: General Power of Attorney (England and Wales), Power of Attorney (England and Wales), Ordinary Power of Attorney, OPA document, GPA document
Country: United Kingdom