A power of attorney is a way of planning ahead for your financial security in the future.
There might come a time when you aren’t able to make decisions for yourself, that could be due to old age, illness or an accident. Or maybe you’d just prefer for someone else to handle your affairs.
A power of attorney gives someone you trust the ability to look after your best interests.
If you become unable to make your own decisions without a power of attorney in place, the alternative would be to get a court order. This can take longer to set up, is more complicated and can cost more.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to give one or more people (the attorneys) the power to make decisions on your behalf when you can’t make your own decisions, or you’d prefer not to.
You decide who is given the power, and you decide whether they’re allowed to make decisions over your:
If you plan to set up a power of attorney, you need to do it while you're still able to make your own decisions. It's a good idea to get it set up well before you need it.
Setting one up now doesn't mean you instantly give up control, though.
When you set up a power of attorney in advance, you can still make decisions over your own affairs. Unless you decide not to, or become unable to make your own decisions.
The type of power of attorney you make and the instructions you put in the power determine when the attorney can use those powers. Some types of power of attorney only give the attorney the power when they're registered with a government body.
A person who holds a power of attorney covering financial affairs and property is allowed to deal with financial services companies. These include your bank and your pension and investment provider (such as Prudential).
For example, when dealing with a pension and investment provider, an attorney could:
A power of attorney could last for a short time. Or it can continue after you’re no longer able to make your own decisions.
It depends on the type of power of attorney you choose.
It's important that you choose the right type of power of attorney for you.
If you want a power of attorney for your financial affairs and property to continue after you’re not able to make your own decisions, you should think about choosing one of these:
A 'general' or 'ordinary' power of attorney is often used as a temporary measure. It's only valid while you’re still mentally able to manage your own affairs. For example, you might use it if you become ill for a while.
You can also set up a lasting or continuing power of attorney to cover just health or welfare, or a 'combined' power of attorney to cover health, welfare, finances and property.
There are also different types of power of attorney if you live overseas, depending on the country.
Prudential only accepts powers of attorney that cover finances and property. And if you can’t make decisions for yourself any more, we can only accept 'lasting', 'enduring' or 'continuing' powers of attorney.
Before your attorney can start managing your affairs with us we need to check the power of attorney and the attorney’s details.
You can only create a valid power of attorney while you're still mentally capable.
If you lose the ability to make your own decisions and don't have a valid power of attorney in place, then the court will decide who will look after your affairs.
It will issue a court order. It has different names across the UK:
The people who would want to act on your behalf would need to apply to the court to be given this power. If you're acting on behalf of someone you can find more information here.
Your attorney should be someone you really trust to do what's best for you. It can be one person or more than one person.
You should consider whether you think the person or people you have in mind are able to always act in your best interests.
To set up a power of attorney, you should:
You might want to talk to a solicitor for advice on setting up a power of attorney, however this will cost a fee. These services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
You can find one in your area through one of a number of legal bodies:
For more information on powers of attorney, visit:
Our articles, guides and videos can help you learn more about saving in a pension and retirement planning.
We all want to make sure our loved ones are taken care of when we’re no longer around.