Planning for the future
While none of us want to think about a time when we might need support to manage our affairs, having a power of attorney in place can make things much easier if that time comes.
This guide explains how you go about appointing someone to make decisions on your behalf, the different types of power of attorney and how to register one to help you manage your account.
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you select one or more trusted people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
There are a number of different types of power of attorney, so we recommend you seek advice on whether obtaining a power of attorney is the right option for you and, if so, which type would be best suited to your particular circumstances.
There could be a number of reasons why you need help in managing your account or other financial affairs. You may want to ensure bills are paid whilst you are in hospital, or you may want to ensure your finances are looked after if you’ve been diagnosed with a long-term illness or disability.
Types of power of attorney
Lasting power of attorney (LPA) - There are two different LPAs: one for financial matters and one for health and care decisions. The LPA for financial and property decisions is the one we'll need in respect of managing your savings accounts with us. A financial LPA can be used by an attorney as soon as it’s registered as long as you give permission for this in the instructions of the LPA. You can also opt for the LPA to only be used if you lose mental capacity. You can find out more about registering an LPA at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA) – this is an old form of power of attorney used for financial decisions. If you created one before October 2007, it’s still valid – but you can’t create a new one. For any new applications an LPA would need to be used instead.
For extra support during temporary situations, for example when travelling or during a planned hospital stay, there’s also an Ordinary power of attorney (OPA). This is used for financial decisions and is only valid while both parties still have mental capacity, so it’s not an alternative to an LPA.
A power of attorney can be created with or without a solicitor. Even if you don't use a solicitor there will be fee to register the power of attorney.
The role of the attorney is a vital one which involves a serious responsibility for making decisions for someone else. The person you choose to appoint as your attorney should be someone you completely trust. They must be over the age of 18 and have the mental capacity to make their own decisions. This could be a partner, relative, a friend or a professional e.g. solicitor. Depending on whether you need to appoint an attorney on a temporary or long-term basis, there are a number of factors you should consider, such as:
Please be aware that by registering an operator to support managing your accounts, online access will no longer be available to any account holders named or any operator(s) who have been registered.
To enable us to validate your power of attorney, you or your attorney will need to provide the following documentation. You can do this by visiting one of our Kent Reliance Branches or by Posting to One Savings Bank, Sunderland, SR43 4AB. We will return any original or certified copies to you.
Power of Attorney document
What if I haven’t made a power of attorney?
If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may have assumed that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case. Without a valid power of attorney, they won’t have the authority or access.
If there comes a time when you can't make your own decisions and there isn't an LPA in place, this may involve the Court of Protection. This can be a timely and costly process.
Find out more at www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/court-of-protection
For further advice and information, contact your solicitor, local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Office of the Public Guardian.
We’ve listed some useful contact details below:
Make, register or end a power of attorney
Report safeguarding concerns to:
Office of the Public Guardian (England and Wales)
Call: 0115 934 2777
Text phone: 0115 934 2778
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm
Wednesday, 10am to 5pm