General power of attorney

General power of attorney

There are different types of power of attorney. A general power of attorney (GPA) is ideally suited for situations where you need to give authority to someone else to deal with your property for a limited time. This might be because you are going away on holiday or moving out of the country for a few years and need someone to manage your affairs whilst you are gone. A GPA is also known as an ordinary power of attorney.

A GPA can't be used in cases where you need someone to act on your behalf because you are incapable of doing these tasks for yourself due to such reasons as an illness, accident or because of the onset of dementia. If this is what you require, we recommend you read our article on Choosing a power of attorney to find the right document.

Why the document is useful

The GPA would be useful if, for example, you are selling your home and the transaction is due to take place around the time when you will be away on holiday and won't be available to sign any deeds. Also, if there are problems while you are away on holiday - e.g. a last minute amendment to what is included within the fixtures and fittings of the property - these amendments can be signed off by your attorney under your GPA. Failure to have a power of attorney in place whilst you are absent may mean that the paperwork in the proper form accepted by solicitors and the Scottish Land Register for a property sale can't be completed in time, even if you fully know and have agreed to all the amendments.

Revoking a general power of attorney

When you no longer want your GPA to be in force, you can revoke it by using a deed of revocation. You would have to ensure that your attorney and anyone relying on the GPA were notified of the revocation of the powers.

In addition, since a GPA can't be used in instances where a person lacks the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf, if the person creating the power of attorney loses capacity, the GPA will automatically come to an end.

Other jurisdictions

This article contains information on general powers of attorney in Scotland. If you are in England & Wales or Northern Ireland, you can read our articles for those jurisdictions as appropriate.

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