These are often rather overlooked since the introduction of Enduring and now Lasting Powers of Attorney, but they are still very useful in certain situations.

These are the main features which distinguish General Powers of Attorney from Lasting Powers of Attorney:

  • General Powers of Attorney last only a year (but it is possible to make a new one as the original one expires).
  • A General Power of Attorney does not need to be registered before it can be used. Once signed it is ready for immediate use.
  • Whereas a Lasting Power of Attorney, once registered, may be used by the Attorney even after the Donor has lost the capacity to manage his or her own affairs a General Power is automatically revoked if and when the Donor loses capacity.
  • Under the terms of a lasting Power of Attorney the Attorney may in certain circumstances make gifts of the Donor’s property. No gift may be made by the Attorney under the terms of a General Power of Attorney.
  • It is not possible to incorporate conditions in or limit the scope of the Attorney in a General Power of Attorney.
  • Under the terms of a General Power of Attorney the Donor of the Power remains personally liable for the actions taken on his or her behalf by the Attorney.

In other respects General and Lasting Powers of Attorney are similar in that they both empower the Attorney to do anything in relation to the Donor’s private affairs that the Donor of the Power could have done

General Powers of Attorney are commonly used when a fully capable Donor of the Power needs to have his or her affairs managed during a period of physical absence.

Provided that the Donor retains sufficient capacity during the period General Powers of Attorney are also very useful where a Donor has made a Lasting Power of Attorney which is in course of registration and needs to have their affairs managed pending registration.

See also Lasting Powers of Attorney.

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