Before you fill out the power of attorney form, you need to give serious thought to who you’d like to give power of attorney to. Who do you trust to look after your best interests, when you’re not able to speak for yourself? Who can be your power of attorney — and who should be?

Don’t worry. We’ll break it down here, along with a few other key questions around who does what when you make a PoA.


What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal form that you can use to give someone you trust the ability to make decisions for you when you can’t speak for yourself. 

There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

On the form to make a power of attorney, the person you give the ability to make decisions for you is called your attorney. You (the person making the PoA) are the donor.


Who can have power of attorney?

So, who is allowed to be your attorney? Who can you give power of attorney to?

You can make more than one person your attorney. There’s actually no limit on this, but it’s best to have less than four.

Your attorneys don’t have to be legal professionals. You could choose:

  • Your partner
  • Your children
  • A friend
  • Another relative

Your attorneys must be over 18. And if you’re making a financial power of attorney, they can’t be subject to a Debt Relief Order or bankrupt.

When choosing who gets power of attorney, you should also think about how you’d like your attorneys to work together. Would you like them to make all decisions together, or can they make some separately? More on this here.


How to choose someone to have your power of attorney

Now you know who can get power of attorney. Now let’s look at who should.

Remember: most of the time, a power of attorney kicks in when you’re not able to make decisions yourself. You may have had a head injury in an accident. Or you might have developed a condition like dementia, or a mental illness. You will be vulnerable.

So, an attorney should above all be someone you trust to always act in your best interests. 

Think about:

  • How well you know them, and they know you. Would they know how you’d like things to be handled?
  • How good they are with their own admin and organisation. If you’re creating a financial power of attorney, make sure your attorney is good with money!
  • How honest they are, and how much you trust them. Your attorney will have a say in many aspects of your life — you must be able to trust them.
  • Whether they’re happy to take on the role. A reluctant attorney is no use to you. Make sure your attorneys are ready and willing.

It may help to know…


What will your attorney’s responsibilities be?

If the time comes for them to act, your attorneys must:

  • Follow the instructions and preferences you gave on the power of attorney.
  • Help you make decisions for yourself, whenever you can still make them — even if your answer isn’t what they would like.
  • Make the decisions you can’t make for yourself, always acting in your best interests.
  • Respect your human and civil rights, wherever possible choosing the option that gives you the most freedom.

Your attorney can — and should — talk to you and your friends, relatives, carers and doctors to help them make decisions. But they’ll have the final say.


How to find out who has power of attorney

If you’d like to check and see if someone has made a power of attorney, and who their attorney is, you can apply to search the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) registers.

Find out more about this here.

When it comes to protecting your family, there’s no time like the present. So, why not make a will online today? It takes just 15 minutes to get peace of mind. Click here to find out more.


More info on making a power of attorney

Now that you know who can have power of attorney, you might be interested in our other PoA guides. 

Find out who can give power of attorney away, get tips on choosing your power of attorney type, and more, here.


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