Setting up a power of attorney

Money Advice Service

If you know that you’re going to find it more difficult to manage your money in the future, it’s a good idea to get some measures in place now so that someone else will be able to do it for you.

What is a power of attorney?

If you want to give one or more people the power to completely manage your money and property if you lose mental capacity.

That is, if you can’t make decisions for yourself – you have to set up a permanent power of attorney.

The people who will manage your finances are called your ‘attorneys’, and they’re usually friends or family members.

Setting up a power of attorney is a big step.

You should make sure you understand all the implications, and you might want to get advice from a solicitor.

What’s in a name?

A permanent power of attorney has different names in different parts of the UK:

  • England and Wales: lasting power of attorney
  • Scotland: continuing power of attorney
  • Northern Ireland: enduring power of attorney

How you get them and what they cover differs slightly, but the principles are the same wherever you are.

When to think about setting up a power of attorney

You must have the capacity to make your own decisions when you set up a power of attorney.

It’s a good idea to get it set up well before you need it. It’s much harder and more expensive for someone to help you with your money and property if you’ve already lost mental capacity.

And if you get it set up now, it’s there if something happens to you suddenly like an accident or a stroke.

Setting it up doesn’t mean you have to give up control.

Usually the power of attorney will only come into force once it has been registered.

It takes several weeks to register a lasting power of attorney – yet another reason to get it set up early.

If you lost mental capacity during those weeks, your attorney would not be able to act for you in the meantime.

Choosing your attorney

Your attorney should be someone you really trust.

For most people, that’s their husband, wife, partner, another family member or a close friend.

Your attorney could also be a company, for example part of a bank – but that usually costs money.

You might want to choose more than one attorney.

If you do, you can say whether they need to make decisions jointly (a good idea if you want two opinions on your finances) or whether each can decide things without the other (good for spreading the load).

You should also choose at least one replacement attorney who would take over if your attorney died or could no longer act for you.

If you are older and the people you choose are all the same age as you too, they might not end up being the best people to act for you if and when you need their help.

Types of lasting power of attorney

The big differences between the types of power of attorney are the decisions they cover:

  • Financial ones, or
  • Ones about your health and welfare.

The options available depend on where you live.

England and Wales

There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

  • A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney lets someone manage all your financial affairs – for example, running your bank and savings accounts, managing your tax affairs, and buying and selling investments and property.
  • A health and welfare lasting power of attorney lets someone make decisions about your health, care and welfare – for example, what medical treatment you receive and whether you move into a care home.

You can set up one or both.


There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

  • A continuing power of attorney lets someone manage all your financial affairs.
  • A welfare power of attorney lets someone make decisions about your care and welfare.

Northern Ireland

There is only one type of power of attorney, an enduring power of attorney.

It lets someone manage all your financial affairs, similar to the English property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney.

There isn’t a power of attorney that lets someone make decisions about your health and well-being.

Setting up a power of attorney

You can get the forms and guidance you need to create a lasting power of attorney online from the agency that deals with your part of the UK.

Send the completed forms back to the agency (along with the relevant fee).

They’ll check that the forms have been completed accurately and that any special rules you’ve asked for – for example, restrictions on what the attorney is allowed to do – are practical.

If there are errors or problems they’ll return the form to you.

When you fill in the form you’ll usually need to write down some friends or family members who should be told about your application.

This is to give other people a chance to object – they’ve got six weeks to do it in.

If everything goes smoothly the whole process takes several weeks.

Registration and costs

It costs nothing to draw up a lasting power of attorney, unless you want a solicitor’s help – but in England, Wales and Scotland you have to register it before you can use it.

In Northern Ireland you can use it without registering it while you still have mental capacity, but you have to register it as soon as your mental capacity starts to decline.

It’s best to register as soon as possible. This is because during the registration process the document will be checked for errors.

If you catch them while you can still manage your affairs you can correct them – if not, your power of attorney might be invalid.

Registration fee

  • England and Wales: £82 for each lasting power of attorney.
  • Northern Ireland: £115 for each enduring power of attorney.
  • Scotland: £75 for each power if you register them separately.

Cancelling a lasting power of attorney

While you still have mental capacity, you can cancel a lasting power of attorney at any time.

The best way to do this is to draw up a written deed of revocation.

Get instructions for cancelling a lasting power of attorney on the GOV.UK website.

If you’ve officially registered your power of attorney you will need to tell the Office of the Public Guardian about the revocation and it will remove the entry from the register.

In Northern Ireland you need to contact the Office of Care and Protection.

After you have lost capacity, the lasting power of attorney can only be cancelled with the agreement of the Court of Protection.

If you already have an enduring power of attorney – England and Wales

In England and Wales, if you set up a power of attorney before 1 October 2007 it will be called an enduring power of attorney.

You can’t set up this type any more, but an existing one is still valid.

While you still have mental capacity, an enduring power of attorney can be used without being registered – but it must be registered as soon as you start to lose capacity.

If the person you want to help has lost mental capacity

You’ll want to check if they have an existing power of attorney, if not you may need to apply to the court to help them manage their money. Find out more on what steps to take and how to check if the person already has an existing power of attorney.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.


Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Get the latest advice, news and inspiration

No spam. Just interesting and useful stuff, straight to your inbox. For free.

By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

Join the Rest Less Money Club

Sign up today to get early access. Coming soon.